Trio of Olympians shines on Crawford-Diaz undercard
NEW YORK — Shakur Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist who signed with Top Rank amid much fanfare, continued his development Saturday.
The 19-year-old scored a first-round stoppage of Argentine Carlos Suarez at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Terence Crawford-Felix Diaz. Stevenson, a featherweight, was in control from the opening bell and stalked Suarez before a flurry of punches buzzed the 29-year-old.
Stevenson followed up his attack and Suarez (6-4-2, 1 knockout) fell face-first, though it appeared no punch landed. He attempted to spring up, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr. curiously refused to let him continue, and the bout was waved off at 2:35 of the opening stanza.
“I hit him with a left to the chin,” said Stevenson. “I practice that punch a lot. It’s my money punch and I knew he was hurt right away. I only wish the fight could have gone on longer.”
Stevenson (2-0, 1 KO) made his pro debut last month with a decision victory over Edgar Brito. This night was far more special, though, a homecoming of sorts for the Newark native, who had throngs of supporters in attendance.
* Teofimo Lopez (5-0, 5 KOs), another highly regarded Olympian from Top Rank’s stable, kept his 100 percent knockout ratio intact with a second-round beatdown of Ronald Rivas in a lightweight bout. The Brooklyn native landed a left hook right on the button that sent Rivas (5-6-2, 3 KOs) sprawling backward, and the contest was immediately halted.
*Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, a third 2016 Olympian with Top Rank – and its only gold medalist from the class – scored an eight-round shutout decision over Agustine Mauras (6-3-3, 3 knockouts). The Uzbekistani junior welterweight, who is handled by top manager Egis Klimas and trained by Abel Sanchez, is now 2-0 with 2 KOs.