2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson made his long awaited professional boxing debut Saturday evening against fellow American Edgar Brito in a six round featherweight fight. Shakur signed with Top Rank following his exit from Rio.
Shakur, named after the late great rapper Tupac Shakur, who was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, paid homage to the legend and gave the state of Cali, where Tupac made a name for himself, a tip of his proverbial cap by making his ring entranced to the tune of “America’s Most Wanted” a classic Tupac hit.
“Fast” and “focused” would be the two words to best describe the type of performance that Shakur displayed. How used angles to pop tough jabs around the face of Brito was brilliant and frustrated his opponent so much so that Brito would enter a foray with his head to attempt and avoid the damaging jabs. Those blusters caused an incidental cut on the eye of Brito. The ring physician stopped the fight after the 5th round due to the severity of the wound and Shakur won with a unanimous technical decision.
Had the fight progressed we would’ve seen Shakur continue to mark up Brito’s face. His speed and his power was obvious to every spectator as Shakur was on another level against the overmatched but game opponent. With his hand raised, his mentor and manager Andre Ward congratulated the young boxer on a great first step.
Shakur is set to return on the Terence Crawford undercard at Madison Square Garden next month. Expect his 8 round return fight to garner even more fanfare as it will be a bit of a homecoming for the Newark, New Jersey native.