Super middleweight prospect Isaiah Steen remained unbeaten, registering a close unanimous decision victory over Kalvin Henderson on the 20th anniversary of ShoBox Friday night in front of a raucous Cornhusker crowd at the Heartland Events Center.
Cleveland’s 24-year-old Steen (16-0, 12 KOs) won the main event by just two rounds on one scorecard, 96-94, and 97-93 on two other cards against the 31-year-old Henderson (14-1-2,10 KOs) of Fayetteville, Ark., in the first 10-round fight of both fighters’ careers.
“It was a close decision because in the first few rounds I wasn’t going by the game plan and was just trying to get him out like I usually do in my fights,” said Steen, who is the half-brother of 2016 U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell, who cheered Steen on from ringside. “It would have looked good to have the knockout, but beating him like I did was more amazing.”
Henderson narrowly edged out Steen in two of the three punch-stat categories, out-jabbing him 20% (47-236) to 18% (50-281) and earning a 2% edge in total punches, 28% to 26%. Steen barley nudged past Henderson in the power-punching department, 42% to 41%, with Steen landing 58 of 138 and Henderson 59 of 144.
“I thought it was a close fight and that I lost by a close decision,” Henderson said. “I lost my right hand in Round 4 because I tore my shoulder and from then on, I used the left to try and control the pace.”
Henderson added: “I could have cut the ring off a little bit more. I didn’t want to let him know I couldn’t use my right hand because I knew he would try and take advantage of it. My coach told me to try and fake the right hand like I was going to throw it, and then hit him with the left hand. We followed our game plan, and everything we wanted to do.”
Steen knows his future is bright and he wants to share the limelight with his brother on August 29 as Conwell is fighting on the undercard of the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley pay-per-view event in Cleveland.
“I want to get added to the undercard of my brother’s fight on the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley card in my hometown,” he said. “I want to bring it back to Cleveland next month.”