Shakur Stevenson made easy work of Shuichiro Yoshino, dropping him twice and earning a sixth-round TKO in a wipeout Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., right in Stevenson’s backyard.
The two-division champion is ready to stake his claim at 135 pounds after making a statement with a beautiful display of defense and power punching. Yoshino (16-1) never had a chance; he was picked off every time he tried to press the action. Knockdowns in Rounds 2 and 4 showcased Stevenson’s underrated power, and the New Jersey native had little trouble landing whenever he wanted.
Instead of using his feet, Stevenson decided to stand in front of Yoshino and dare him to throw punches. The strategy allowed the 2016 Olympic silver medalist to sit on his punches and shred an eager Yoshino with power shots. A perfectly placed straight left hand put Yoshino down in the second round, but the Japanese fighter didn’t seem to be rattled. The right hook that sent him crashing to the canvas in the fourth round was far more telling; Yoshino was dazed from the punch.
The referee told Yoshino between Rounds 5 and 6 that he needed to show him something to allow the fight to continue. Instead, Stevenson showed the referee that the fight didn’t need to go on. A thudding left uppercut rocked Yoshino, and the referee rescued him from further damage at 1:35 of the round.
At 20-0 (10 KOs), the 25-year-old Stevenson has proved that a spot on the pound-for-pound list is in his near future. Now, he wants the best the division has to offer.
“Tell all of those lightweights to get ready,” he said. “Finish all of those fights that you have and then it’s my turn.”
Stevenson took aim at undisputed champion Devin Haney, who defends his titles against Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20.
“Me and Devin have been in the ring together for years (as sparring partners),” Stevenson said. “I always got the best of Devin. Tell him to come on.”
With a wink and a smile, Stevenson was gone. But the warning shot was fired to the division, and anybody who thinks they can get the best of one of the finest tacticians in the sport today.