READING, PA - Former title challenger Denis Shafikov (37-2-1, 20 KOs) defeated previously unbeaten 2012 United States Olympian Jamel Herring (15-1, 8 KOs) via stoppage in the final round of a 10-round lightweight main event of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on ESPN and ESPN Deportes from Santander Arena in Reading, Pa.
The action heated up in round two as Shafikov landed a leaping right hook that drove Herring onto the ropes for a ruled knockdown. Shafikov of Miass, Russia continued to land hard power shots in round three as he cracked several straight left hands to Herring's head.
Round five proved to be one of Shafikov's best, as he hurt Herring with an overhand left that set off a flurry of power punches on the ropes. Herring, who fights out of Cincinnati, showed an immense amount of heart as he emerged from the attack with blood coming from his mouth, but a determination to prevail. By round seven, Herring was cut around his right eye, but he continued to battle on the inside, trading with Shafikov.
In round nine, Shafikov pummeled Herring with hard power shots, and the fight looked to be seconds from being stopped, but referee Gary Rosato let the action go on. Later in the round, Shafikov landed a vicious left hand that had Herring out on his feet, but he was able to make it to the end of the round.
Shafikov landed one more crushing overhand left that had Herring's corner on the ring apron and the fight was halted at 36 seconds of the final round.
"He was a tough opponent," said Shafikov. "I kept hurting him, but he kept coming back. After I knocked him down, I felt that I was in control of the fight, but my corner wanted the stoppage as they did not think that I could get a decision here. I was very comfortable in the ring and now I feel that I deserve another title shot. This time I will not let that slip away."
Said Herring, "I fought his fight and could not make the adjustments. I got caught pulling out with my hands down," continued Herring. "I was surprised by his punch rate. Every time that I felt that I was slowing him down, he was just come fight back."
"I did not want the fight to be stopped, but my corner did the best thing for me. Losing is part of the game and all the greats have taken losses. I will be back."