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Rivas comes alive late, Shakur shines on ESPN+



Oscar Rivas was turning a ho-hum performance for much of his twelve-round main event against former world title challenger Bryant Jennings when he finally came alive in the final round and stopped the Philadelphia native of what had not been a terribly exciting fight at The Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.

The 2008 Olympian had spent most of the fight plodding forward, occasionally flurrying upstairs but eschewing the body punching that had been mostly responsible for his undefeated record and almost contender status. Meanwhile the more accomplished pro Jennings (24-3, 12 KOs) used effective movement, a good jab and occasional combinations to peck his way through a thoroughly uninspiring fight. He looked very good in some of the middle rounds, but tired late, giving the Montreal-based Columbian the chance to rally late.

As he went into the late rounds, Rivas’ trainer, Mark Ramsay implored him to let his hands go and throw punches in an almost Teddy Atlas like fashion. Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) began to heed his trainers’ instructions and landed a series of right hands that dropped him in the first minute of the 12th round. Jennings was up at nine, but Rivas jumped on him with unanswered punches and referee Gary Rosato stopped the fight at 54 seconds of Round 12.

Rivas will need to be much better if he steps up against the elite of the heavyweight division. But he clearly has the right man behind him in Ramsay. For Jennings, he should probably stay away from Turning Stone. It’s his second knockout loss at the venue…

In the co-feature, 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson of Newark, New Jersey stopped Filipino Jessie Cris Rosales with a beautiful short left hand in the fourth round. It was a massive mismatch despite the fact that Rosales was the most experienced fighter that Stevenson has faced as a pro.

Recent fights have seen Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs planting his feet and throwing combinations with bad intentions both the head and body. He was landing hard left hands from the first round on, as well occasionally slamming hard punches with both hands to the body. Rosales (22-2-1, 10 KOs) barely landed a punch for the first two rounds before finally getting to Shakur’s body a little in the third. Yet Shakur simply used that as openings to throw even more punches.

After a dominant third round, Stevenson picked up the pressure and two short, sharp left hands finally dropped Rosales. He rose at nine but wobbled and referee Charlie Finch stopped the fight at 1:29 of Round 4. Stevenson called out IBF Featherweight Champion Josh Warrington of England after the fight, but the Newark native may be a fight or two away from such a big opportunity. But rest assured, Shakur will be fighting for a world title sooner rather than later.

"Frank has been a wrestling fan since he was two years old. (Don't worry, he's got proof.) He's also a huge boxing and UFC fan and has a long standing love affair with Popeyes Chicken. He still owns a VHS copy of the first Ring of Honor show ever and was watching NXT before it was cool (or good). Bret Hart > Shawn Michaels. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightFanaticPod and on Tumblr at FrankTheFightFanatic." He's also starting his own podcast soon!