Stevenson KO’s Guevara in thrilling homecoming

3:23 AM ETDan RafaelESPN Senior Writer Close2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism ESPN.com boxing writer since 2005 Five years at USA TodayRising featherweight star Shakur Stevenson made a triumphant homecoming as he blew out Alberto Guevara in a dominant third-round knockout performance to retain his regional belt and move to…

Stevenson KO’s Guevara in thrilling homecoming

3:23 AM ETDan RafaelESPN Senior Writer Close2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism
ESPN.com boxing writer since 2005
Five years at USA TodayRising featherweight star Shakur Stevenson made a triumphant homecoming as he blew out Alberto Guevara in a dominant third-round knockout performance to retain his regional belt and move to the precipice of a shot at a world title on Saturday night in Newark, New Jersey.Fighting before a partisan crowd of 5,150 in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card at the Prudential Center, Stevenson put on a flawless performance, scoring two knockdowns in the second round before putting Guevara away in the third round.”There is only one way to describe tonight — amazing,” Stevenson said of his first professional fight in his hometown. “Seeing all of my family, friends and everybody from the city come out to support was incredible. We are going to do many more fights and even bigger. We are bringing big-time boxing back to Newark.”Stevenson is already in a mandatory position to fight for the 126-pound world title held by Mexico’s Oscar Valdez, so he is expected to either fight Valdez by the end of the year or he could fight for a vacant belt if Valdez moves up to the junior lightweight division as he has talked about doing.Stevenson would like to fight Top Rank stablemate Valdez for his title but also called out world titleholder Josh Warrington of England.”I think it’s that time,” he said of fighting for a title. “I would love to go to England to fight Josh Warrington. We can do that in December. Let’s get it.”Stevenson opened the fight as the aggressor against Guevara, who is a counter puncher, and never slowed down. He landed body shots and long right jabs from his southpaw stance to take immediate control of the fight. Guevara had no answers for Stevenson’s offense. In the second round, Stevenson landed a left hand and right to the body to knock Guevara to a knee with 30 seconds to go. A straight left hand dropped him for the second time in the final seconds of the round.Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs), 22, a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, continued to dominate in the third round before landing a four-punch combination — two shots to the body, followed by a right and left to the head — that dropped Guevara on his back. He tried to get to his feet but could not beat the count from referee David Fields, who waved the fight over at 2 minutes, 37 seconds.”That was a great performance that I put on for the city of Newark,” Stevenson said. “I’m glad they came out to support me. Top Rank, you all gotta give me better competition. I want the IBF and WBO titles.”I surprised myself today. I was going for the body a lot. He didn’t look like he was in shape at the weight-in, so I went to the body and finished him off to the head.”According to CompuBox, Stevenson landed 32 of 67 punches (48%), while Guevara connected with only five of 51 punches (10%).Guevara, who took the fight on eight days’ notice, was the third opponent for this date with Stevenson. He was originally slated to fight Hairon Socarras (22-0-3, 13 KOs), but Socarras dropped out
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