Undefeated WBO Featherweight champion ushered back the return of boxing with a dominant TKO6 victory over Felix Caraballo in ESPN’s main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas without any crowd.
Top Rank’s young Heavyweights Jared Anderson and Guido Vianello both earned stoppage victories as part of the five-fight card’s exciting action.
LAS VEGAS (June 9, 2020) — After nearly three months of inactivity, boxing made its return on ESPN with Olympian and Featherweight Shakur Stevenson moving up to 130-pounds for his 14th victory. Stevenson showed very few signs of having any issues with the new weight, or in facing Puerto Rico’s one-loss Felix Caraballo without a crowd.
On Monday’s conference call ahead of the bout, Stevenson said that he only needed to see one round of his opponent in action. Once in the ring it quickly became apparent that his estimation was correct.
Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) dominated Caraballo from the first round, relying on his hand speed advantage and versatility. He dropped Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs) in the first frame with a head-body two-punch combination with his right hand. Further punishment ensued over the next several rounds, which were underscored by Stevenson’s accuracy and power that buckled Caraballo’s knees a number of times.
Stevenson operated inside comfortably, scoring easily with thudding combinations to all of Caraballo’s openings. Halfway through the sixth round the 22-year old from Newark, New Jersey placed a left hook to the Puerto Rican’s body that closed the show.
With fellow Olympian Mikaela Mayer’s losing her co-main slot following a positive coronavirus test, Toledo, Ohio’s Jared Anderson stepped in for a 6-rounder versus 30-year old Floridian Johnnie Langston. The 6-foot 4-inch 236-pound Ohioan overpowered Langston (8-3, 3 KOs) en route to a third round technical knockout. Langston took advantage of Anderson’s overzealous moments, and landed a few shots the youngster seemed willing to accept in order to complete the mission. For a young fighter – in the midst of earning his fourth KO in four fights – the undefeated Heavyweight put together some beautiful combinations while applying relentless pressure.
Top Rank also showcased another one of its Heavyweights in Italian Olympian Guido Vianello. The 26-year old only needed 45 seconds to secure his seventh knockout after he drove a smashing right hand down onto the side of the face of New York’s Don Haynesworth. Vianello moved his 6-foot 6-inch frame around with ease and landed the punishing counter punch as Haynesworth (16-4-1, 14 KOs) went to shoot a left jab to the body. The Italian moved to 7-0 after referee Jay Nady apologetically informed Haynesworth he couldn’t allow him to continue.
Middleweights Quatavious Cash and Calvin Metcalf battled it out until a severe cut on Metcalf’s left eye became unsafe. Metcalf (10-4-1, 3 KOs) sustained the cut after a clash of heads in the second. Cash used his footwork and jab to maintain his preferred distance through the first few rounds. Metcalf’s pressure gradually challenged the stamina of Cash – a 28-year old fighter who appeared in season five of The Contender in 2018.
Cash (12-2, 7 KOs) never lost control of the fight, but he started to catch Metcalf less and less cleanly as the Kansas City, Missouri native punched his way inside. Referee Nady stopped the action for the cut to be examined, and the decision was made to stop the fight. Cash’s hand was raised in victory behind cards of 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55.
In the opener, Cuba’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez furthered himself from his disappointing loss in his August 2019 debut. Ramirez extended his two-fight knockout streak to three behind an aggressive start against Yeuri Andujar. Ramirez dropped Andujar (5-4, 3 KOs) twice in the first round, with a series of heavy left hands doing the damage on both occasions. The Cuban picked up his third win and kicked off boxing’s return to cable networks in emphatic fashion.
As part of Top Rank’s roll-out of a series of June cards, there will be a quick turnaround for the promotional entity. Thursday night, back at the MGM Grand, Jessie Magdelano and Adam Lopez headline another five-fight card that will air on ESPN.
All photos provided by Hector De La Cruz/Top Rank