Stevenson stays unbeaten with shutout decision over Nakathila

The former WBO featherweight champion has sights on becoming a world champion in the super featherweight division, and now he is one step closer to getting that opportunity.

Shakur Stevenson scored a knockdown in the fourth round en route to a unanimous decision win over Jeremiah Nakathila (120-107, 3x) to win the vacant WBO interim junior lightweight world title Saturday at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Stevenson’s record is now 16-0 and is the top contender for the WBO junior lightweight title currently held by Jamel Herring. Nakathila falls to 21-2.

While Nakathila had the height and reach advantage coming into this fight, his activity was limited over the course of 12 rounds as Stevenson had been the more accurate puncher and sent a message with that knockdown from a right hook in the fourth round. Once that happened there was not much coming from the Namibian who had 17 knockouts coming into this fight. Stevenson took his time to land shots over the second half of the fight but also had to be wary of foot positioning as both fighters stepped on each other’s lead foot prompting referee to warn them on multiple occasions. That was how the rest of the fight went, as Stevenson did not pick up the pace in order to finish off his opponent.

Stevenson felt like the style of his opponent led to his showing on Saturday night. “To be honest, I didn’t really like my performance,” he said. “I felt I could’ve performed a lot better, but it was an awkward fighter. You had an awkward fighter throwing hard punches, and he knows how to grab and get away. He was a real awkward fighter. That’s all.”

“I tried to {get him out of there} a little bit, but I started getting hit with some solid shots. I ain’t really like it, but next time I’m going to work on moving my head a little bit more and step it up a little more.”

That will be needed in his next fight, as he is projected to have a title shot. As mentioned before, Herring is the WBO champion but there is also Oscar Valdez who holds the WBC title. Stevenson has a preference of who he would like next but for him it does not matter which champion it is.

“If I had the choice, I’d take Oscar Valdez, but if I had to beat up Jamel {Herring} to get to it, I’ll do that, too.”

Cover photo by Mikey Williams of Top Rank


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