Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Shakur Stevenson stops Felix Caraballo in Las Vegas in major US boxing’s return
Last Updated: 10/06/20 9:15am
Shakur Stevenson showcased his skills and beat Felix Caraballo in six rounds on Tuesday night in Las Vegas as US boxing made its comeback.
The talented WBO featherweight champion made a comfortable debut in the division above at the MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom, a behind-closed-door venue, in the first event promoted by Bob Arum's Top Rank since lockdown began.
"What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson," Arum said. "He keeps getting better and, rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar."
The fight was nearly over in the first round - Stevenson landed a body shot which forced Caraballo, a Puerto Rican who had never previously boxed outside of his home country, onto one knee.
Caraballo survived the early knock-down but Stevenson continued peppering him.
Towards the end of the fifth, Stevenson landed a powerful left hand which hurt Caraballo.
Two consecutive punches to the body by Stevenson in the sixth round folded Caraballo in agony, and the referee called a halt.
"He hit me with a couple shots, more than I'm used to," Stevenson said. "A couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston."
The 22-year-old Olympic silver medalist Stevenson had previously been feted as "the southpaw Floyd Mayweather" by his promoter Arum who added: "He will be one of the major, major stars in boxing in the years ahead".
He extended his pro record to 14-0 on Tuesday night then wore a T-shirt supporting the Black Lives Matter movement afterwards.
But his successful debut at super-featherweight is a complication in any potential unification fight with Britain's Josh Warrington, the IBF featherweight champion.
Stevenson's manager Andre Ward previously said about facing the undefeated Warrington: "[Stevenson] won't just beat you, he can embarrass you. No fighter wants to be embarrassed. They see that in Shakur. I respect his desire to go [to the UK], I support his desire."
Stevenson has previously explained his desire to win world titles in four divisions.
Robeisy Ramirez, who beat Stevenson in the 2016 Olympic final but then shockingly lost his own professional debut, won for the third time on Tuesday night's undercard.
"My pro debut is long behind me," he said.