Boxing is back.Top Rank, one of the most powerful fight firms on the planet, brought an event to Las Vegas three months after sports was forced to shut down because of the worsening spread of the novel coronavirus.A backdrop of COVID-19 and a worldwide civil rights movement sparked by the death of a black man George Floyd in police custody, Top Rank’s event featured safety measures and “Black Lives Matter” attire.Shakur Stevenson, a 22-year-old who Top Rank hopes is their new Floyd Mayweather Jr., was the headline act Tuesday and scored a body-shot KO which you can watch below.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Shakur Stevenson, a 22-year-old American, marked elite boxing’s return in the US with a bang by leaving his opponent Felix Caraballo writhing in agony on the canvas after brutal body shots in the sixth round.It all went down inside the MGM Grand’s Conference Center in Las Vegas, a city only recently reopened itself, and a venue Top Rank and ESPN — the event’s promoter and broadcaster — have affectionately called “The Bubble.”This was an event like few others as the world remains in chaos.The United States is reeling from a health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while the death of a black man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 has sparked daily protests against police brutality spreading through America and beyond its borders into Tokyo, Amsterdam, and London.
None of this was lost at a behind-closed-doors boxing event Tuesday.Bob Arum, the 88-year-old founder of fight promoter Top Rank, sat socially-distant from the ring and wore a face mask — two of the safety measures implemented to help prevent any spread of COVID-19.ESPN reported other safety measures which included the sanitization of the ring, ropes, and canvas. Media and event staff were positioned two meters apart. Those attending wore personal protective equipment (PPE).Stevenson, one of the young jewels in Arum’s stable and his headline act Tuesday, had “Black Lives Matter” attire in his changing room while his training team had shirts which bore Floyd’s face.
Stevenson with his “Black Lives Matter” attire, before his ring-walk at a TV-studio behind-closed doors.
Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Arum envisions an extraordinary trajectory for his young stud.
The veteran promoter even told Insider earlier this year that he sees the youngster as a new Floyd Mayweather Jr., a mirror-image of the retired American being a southpaw to Mayweather’s orthodox stance.”I think Shakur may even exceed Mayweather’s accomplishments,” Arum told us.Promotional soundbites aside, Stevenson scored an easy win in one of America’s first boxing events since the worsening spread of the novel coronavirus ground sports leagues and organizations to a halt mid-March.Caraballo was never regarded as a competitive opponent who could cause Stevenson a problem, or two, but rather someone to give the star-in-the-making some rounds, before providing a highlight-reel moment.
According to Compubox data seen by Insider, Stevenson out-landed Caraballo in every round, and was not even hit with a punch in the third. He finished the bout in the sixth. It was easy work.At the time of the knockout, one which was caused by a dig each side of Caraballo’s body, Stevenson had landed 121 of his 296 punches (40.9%) — many of which were power shots rather than jabs. Caraballo, in contrast, landed just 18.Watch the finish below:—Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 10, 2020″Everything about this fight week was different,” said Stevenson. “After my last fight was canceled, I was happy to showcase my skills for all of the boxing fans.
“He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to, a couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”
Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank
“What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson. He keeps on getting better, and rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar,” Arum said.With the knockout win, Stevenson advances his record to 14 wins (8 knockouts) and no defeats.Top Rank, meanwhile, moves to its next show at the same TV-studio venue Thursday, with another behind-closed-door event broadcast on ESPN in the US and Fite TV elsewhere.
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