Stevenson: ‘Oscar(Valdez) can’t keep ducking’

Shakur Stevenson(17-0, 9 KOs) had the biggest test of his young career on Saturday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta when he faced WBO 130-pound champion Jamel Herring, and it turned out to be an easy night for the Newark, NJ native.

Stevenson dominated Herring from start to finish and would get the victory by 10th-round TKO to win the WBO junior lightweight world title and become a two-weight world champion. He was brutalizing Herring, and when referee Mark Nelson stopped the fight, Stevenson was pitching a shutout on two of the three cards.

According to the 24-year-old Stevenson, after the fifth round, he started targeting a cut on Herring’s eye.

“Around the fifth round, I was landing everything, and then he started trying to come on,” Stevenson said. “I smelled blood. I saw he was bleeding and was like, ‘Okay, I have to attack the cut. I was trying to touch the cut to make the doctor try and stop it.”

The 35-year-old Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) was game on Saturday night, but he could not slow down Stevenson. 

“He’s sharp and slick. His hand-eye coordination is very good,” Herring said. “No excuses. He was just the better man tonight.”

Now, Stevenson wants more belts. As soon as the fight ended, the silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics made it clear who he wanted next, and that’s WBC 130-pound champion, Oscar Valdez.

“There’s only one fight left at the end of the day,’ he said. “It’s the biggest fight at the end of the day. Oscar can’t keep ducking. It’s time for him to fight. There’s nothing else to look forward to. The 130-pound division needs to unify. Let’s get it!”

The fight against Valdez should be next for Stevenson, and hopefully, Bob Arum and Top Rank can make that fight happen. However, if you’re Valdez, you might be a little reluctant to get in the ring with Stevenson after what you saw tonight. 

Stevenson has all the goods and appears to be the best at 130.

Ali Walsh has done it again:

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Nico Ali Walsh (2-0, 2 KOs) had to go a little longer than his one-round August pro debut, but the grandson of “The Greatest” was dominant in knocking out James Westley II (1-1) in the third round of a middleweight special attraction. Ali Walsh ate a couple hard right hands in the first round, and he then knocked down Westley with a straight right hand shortly before the bell sounded to end the second. Westley’s corner stopped the fight following a knockdown early in the third round.

“I’m happy that my pro debut went the way it did,” he said. “There’s stuff, of course, I have to work on.

“I know the crowd got excited seeing him land a punch, but I did not feel the punch. Maybe it was my energy, my adrenaline, but my hat’s off to him and his team. Mutual respect both ways, and it was a very good fight.

“I’m blessed that I’m following the legacy of my grandfather. I think everyone who loves my grandfather who’s watching me… I love this legacy that I’m continuing.”

Holyfield shines:

(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Atlanta native Evan Holyfield (8-0, 6 KOs) — following in the footstep of his famous father— knocked out Charles Stanford (6-4, 3 KOs) in the second round of a scheduled six-round junior middleweight contest. Holyfield connected with a looping left hook that staggered Stanford. After a right hand for good measure, Stanford was on the deck and in no position to continue.

Evan Holyfield to make debut on Canelo-Kovalev undercard

On November 2, before thousands of fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV are treated to the most-anticipated fight of the year, the live audience will witness the professional debut of Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield. The 21-year-old son of Hall-of-Famer and five-time world heavyweight champion, Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield, will face Nick Winstead of Abita Springs, Louisiana in a 4-round junior middleweight matchup on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

Evan is the middle child of the 11 Holyfield children and older brother of Carolina Panthers running back Elijah Holyfield. As an amateur, Holyfield amassed over 80 fights including the Semi-Finals for the US Team. Standing 6’1.5″, Evan is extremely athletic, a boxer-puncher with lightning fast speed and hard-hitting power.

When asked about debuting on the biggest fight card of the year, Evan said, “There is no added pressure. I have fought on the top level before as an amateur. All this really isn’t too much of a big deal. I am just here to do my job.”

He continued, “I know I am ready. My trainers have been switching things up a bit and making things more difficult to ensure I am ready. I would like to tell everyone who has helped me get here that I appreciate all the support and I love y’all.”

Evan has assembled a top-notch team fighting out of the Fighter Nation Boxing Gym in Houston, Texas. His trainer/manager is Maurice “Termite” Watkins (61-5-2, 42 KOs) and his strength and conditioning coach is Tim Hallmark, who has over 40 years of experience and is best-known for working with Evander Holyfield throughout his professional career.

“I know people called Evander ‘Real Deal’ but Evan is the real deal,” said Watkins. “There is pressure on him for this big card and because he has the Holyfield name, but that is part of the game. To be a great world champion you must be able to handle the pressure. You got to handle whatever circumstances are thrown at you.”

He explained, “Evan’s conditioning is incredible, but he is also amazingly talented with speed and power in both hands. We are training him to be skillful. We are going to look for him to hit and move.”

“We are prepared for a fight,” added Watkins. “We are ready to show our stuff and we are excited about being part of the Main Events team with Kathy Duva.”

Holyfield’s strength and conditioning coach, Tim Hallmark, said “We are constantly challenging Evan in different ways, and he is always up to those challenges. We are challenging him physically and mentally to keep him out of a rut. We are just trying to stay on the cutting edge and constantly looking at a better way to reach our end result.”

He continued, “We are excited about this opportunity. Evan has come a long way and he is a hard worker. He is mentally strong and very intelligent. He is a pleasure to work with. We will be ready for November 2nd.”

According to Main Events’ Matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone, “I am excited and honored to work with Evan and his entire team to get him to that championship level one day. I am going to fly the plane (make the fights) but he is the one who going to have to land it (win the fights). I have complete faith in him, his abilities and his team, Termite and Tim.”

Photo Credit: Hosanna Rull

Evan Holyfield, son of Evander Holyfield, signs with Main Events

On Wednesday, in front of a packed crowd of family, friends and fans, at the Fighter Nation Boxing Gym in Houston, Texas, hot boxing prospect Evan Holyfield announced his new promotional deal with Main Events. After talks with several promoters the 21-year old son of Hall-of-Famer Evander Holyfield decided to sign with the company that launched his father’s historic career.

 The middle child of the Holyfield children, Evan, amassed over 80 amateur fights including the Semi-Finals for the US Team. The 6’1.5″ junior middleweight is a boxer-puncher with lightning fast speed and hard-hitting power.

“This is really a dream come true,” said Evan. “I have been doing this for more than 10 years and it’s not really a job if you really enjoy it. Life is always better when you have a dream you can strive for and work towards every day. I am eager to get started and excited to begin this next chapter.”

 Evan Holyfield has teamed up with Maurice “Termite” Watkins as his trainer/manager. After a 61-5-2, 42 KOs professional boxing career Termite headed to Iraq to work as an exterminator for the military camps. While serving in Baghdad he formed an Iraqi Olympic boxing team. Watkins now runs Fighter Nation Boxing Gym in Houston and works with more than 200 young fighters.

“Evan is very coachable and hungry to create his own name,” explained Watkins. “We have assembled a great team to help him achieve that goal. 1. We have Main Events. They are the ones who took Evander to the top. 2. He’s got me. I’ve had over 65 pro fights. 3. He’s in one of the best training climates in the world. That’s why athletes come here, because it is hot, humid and they can lose weight. 4. We’ve got Tim Hallmark. In my opinion, he is the best of the best of the strength and conditioning coaches and he is the one that took worked with Evander throughout his career. He is heading up our strength and conditioning team.” He continued, “Evan is the whole package: he can box, he can punch, he is very elusive in the ring and he has incredible timing. This makes for a winning combination and we plan on going all the way. We are ready to fight!”

Holyfield’s team also includes Tim Hallmark the strength and conditioning coach with over 35 years of experience who is best-known for working with Evander Holyfield throughout his professional career. In addition to extensive roster of high-profile clients Tim has also designed the SymmetriCore® and CenterForce® training equipment that have been used by some of the world’s top professional and Olympic athletes.

 “This is my 40th year as a sports performance trainer,” said Hallmark. “My philosophy has always been to first get an athlete healthy, then get him fit and then make him more athletic. Evan and I have been together for about 14 months. He has a fitter physique but, most-importantly, his recovery time has improved tremendously.” Hallmark added, “It is all about making him strong mentally. If he is healthier then he going to be able to deal with stress better. Then, it is all about attitude. If he feels better, he will have a good attitude and with the right attitude he can push himself further than he ever thought possible. That is what makes a winner!”

Photo Credit: Hosanna Rull/Main Events