David Stevens, a power-punching boxer from nearby Reading, Pa., produced one of the more dramatic endings in recent ShoBox history, theatrically dropping and stopping Sean Hemphill with just two seconds left in their hotly contested eight-round super middleweight showdown to capture the biggest win of his young career in the main event of ShoBox on Friday, January 20 live on Showtime from Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem, Pa.

Stevens, whose left boxing shoe had to be repaired before the start of the seventh round, floored Hemphill with 21 seconds left in the final frame with a barrage of rights and lefts that caused Hemphill to slump in his corner. Hemphill rose and told referee Shawn Clark he was fine to continue. But Stevens (12-0, 9 KOs) jumped on him and caught the New Orleans’ native Hemphill (14-1, 8 KOs) with a razor-sharp left-hook that sent Hemphill barreling into the ropes as Clark waved the fight off at 2:58 of the eighth frame.

Stevens led 68-65 on all three judges’ scorecards entering the final round, even while fighting the last few rounds with the sole of his left boxing shoe coming apart and dangling until his cornerman sliced it off. 

“I felt like it was a good performance in front of my hometown crowd,” Stevens said. “I didn’t know how the judges had it scored and I knew I wasn’t executing like I should have been, and I had to pick it up like my corner was telling me. Near the end I just had to stay relaxed. I think I could have done a better. Just improved on a little bit of everything. We were both breathing pretty heavy near the end there and I knew I just needed to keep pushing.”

The 22-year-old Stevens fought a mature, disciplined fight, continuously walking forward with his lead jab followed by power shots. Hemphill, for his part, fought mostly off his back foot, relying on his long jab and occasionally stopping and firing back to blunt Stevens’ attack. Both had their moments, but it was Stevens who landed the harder, more telling shots, stunning Hemphill numerous times throughout the match.  

Both fighters had high-powered trainers in their corner, with Hemphill guided by 2002 Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year James “Buddy” McGirt, and Stevens piloted by highly respected 2003 BWAA Trainer of the Year Ronnie Shields.