By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Shakur Stevenson delivered the knockout he sought for his hometown fans Saturday night.
The 19-year-old Stevenson, an Olympic silver medalist from nearby Newark, New Jersey, stopped Argentina’s Carlos Suarez in the first round of a scheduled six-round featherweight fight at Madison Square Garden. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. halted the action at 2:35 of the first round, much to the liking of Stevenson’s large contingent of fans at The Garden.
The left-handed Stevenson spent most of the first round aggressively pursuing Suarez. He landed several hard, straight left hands that shook Suarez before Suarez fell to canvas, seemingly from more of a push than a punch.
Mercante immediately stopped the fight as Suarez attempted to reach his feet.
Nevertheless, Stevenson (2-0, 1 KO) appeared well on his way to stopping a veteran who had lost by knockout or technical knockout just once in his first 11 professional fights. Suarez slipped to 6-4-2.
Stevenson wobbled Gaston with a straight left hand with about 50 seconds left in the first round. He also hurt Gaston with a right hook several seconds later.
The win was Stevenson’s second in four weeks as a pro. He won his pro debut April 22 in Carson, California, where he earned a six-round technical decision over Phoenix’s Edgar Brito (3-3-1, 2 KOs).
Earlier Saturday night, Brooklyn’s Teofimo Lopez scored a spectacular second-round knockout of Ronald Rivas (5-6-2, 3 KOs).
A crushing left hook by Lopez left Rivas face-first on the canvas. Mercante stopped that fight at 2:21 of the second round.
Lopez, who represented Honduras at the 2016 Summer Olympics, improved to 5-0 and recorded his fifth knockout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.