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Shakur Stevenson defeats Jamel Herring

Following weeks of jawing between them, Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) and Jamel Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) finally met in the ring with Herring’s WBO Super Featherweight title on the line in a buzzing Atlanta, GA on a night in which the Atlanta Braves punched a ticket to the World Series. 

Stevenson, the youthful former Olympian entered the ring looking to attain a world title in a second weight division early in his career. Meanwhile, Herring, coming off the biggest win of his career in the form of a TKO destruction over the heralded Carl Frampton, looked to make it four successful title defenses of his belt.  

In a somewhat surprising turn, the buildup to the fight saw the 24-year-old Stevenson in a villain-esque heel turn. From Twitter exchanges between the two, to Stevenson grabbing at Herring’s belt in the pre-fight faceoff, it was clear the young champion was trying to irk the even keeled and cool tempered former Marine. 

At 35 years old, the veteran Herring looked to be entirely unaffected by the shenanigans, simply smiling and laughing off any quips and shots thrown his way. 

Nonetheless, both fighters understood the test that stood across them entering the ring. While Stevenson held supreme confidence, he knew he faced his toughest test to date. Conversely, Herring faced a Hall-of-Fame type talent, a fighter many have suggested as the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather

Leading into the fight there were two possible storylines. Would the improbable underdog-champion defend his belt against the inevitable pound-for-pound talent on his way up? Or would the young champion capture further greatness in a new weight class in route to new heights.

Early on, it appeared evident it would be the latter.

“Brick City’s” own displayed his exceptional speed and boxing skill. In the first and second rounds, Stevenson doubled down on his supremacy over Jamel Herring, backing up his verbal jabs by displaying a wide gap in speed, power, and skill in his beating and battering of the champ while remaining entirely calculated and defensively sound.

As early as the third round, in the way he opened up with combination punches accompanied by the scowl on his face, it was clear that Shakur was using this fight as a statement making  performance. He was putting together exactly the type of fight so many in the boxing public had hoped to see.

Following a rough start to the fifth round, which saw Shakur continue to land at will and emphasized by a pair of overhand lefts, Herring, sensed a change needed to be made. The only avenue of victory for the fighting Marine seemed to be pressure and in-fighting. In that assumption, Herring picked up the pressure. In this quick change, Herring found his only success to that point of the fight in the form of a left hand paired with body work. He wouldn’t find much more. 

Even with the champions’ surge, Stevenson continuously proved his excellence in all areas of the ring. Clearly holding advantages in both boxing skills and physical traits, Shakur was doing exactly what he set out to do. Where Herring believed he held the advantage, on the inside, Shakur proved to be the stronger man. 

Ultimately, the work done by Shakur Stevenson culminated in a picture-esque performance against his toughest test to date ending in a 10th-round TKO over the battered champion. In the victory, Stevenson did more than just claim a second belt. The Newark native successfully expelled any demons from his previous underwhelming performance and successfully placed his name at the top of the 130 pound ranks. 

Not to mention, the soon to be father also displayed class towards Herring following the victory in a move that will likely win back any fans lost in the lead up.

Additionally, those soured by Stevenson’s behavior pre-fight will likely have to get used to it, as it is clear he is on his way to being a staple on any pound-for-pound list.

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