Undefeated Shakur Stevenson of the US stopped Felix Caraballo with a punishing body shot in the sixth round on Tuesday to win the main event of boxing’s first major fight card since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 22-year-old Stevenson easily won the 10-round non-title fight by delivering a devastating left hand to Caraballo’s rib cage for the knockdown at 1:31 of the sixth round.
Stevenson, who is the World Boxing Organization featherweight champion, completely dominated the Puerto Rican to improve to 14-0 with eight knockouts.
There were no fans allowed into the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino conference centre because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s a different atmosphere,” Stevenson said. “Losing the weight was different. Training in the gym was different. I couldn’t be around anybody.
“Even when fighting and there was no crowd was different. I would catch him with mean shots and there would be no ‘Ooohs’ or ‘Aaahs.’”
Stevenson also forced Caraballo to take a knee in the first round.
Stevenson said he injured his left hand in the fifth round but was still able to land solid blows.
“I hit him with everything I could early. I wobbled him a bunch of times. He took a lot of punishment, and I started realising that head shots weren’t going to get him out of here. So I started going to the body more,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson, who is black, wore a T-shirt reading “Black Lives Matter” for his post-fight interview.
“My people right now, they’re protesting and there’s a lot going on in our community, a lot of people trying to stand up for what’s right,” he said. “I couldn’t really go out there and protest with them because I had a fight coming up and I didn’t want to risk catching corona.
“Now that the fight is over, I’ll go out there and protest. Mask up, gloved up, I’ll go out there and help my people out.”