Shabaz Masoud's (6-0) flashy footwork and switch-hitting wowed the Leeds crowds in his sixth professional fight last night at the First Direct Arena on the undercard of Warrington's stunning second-round stoppage of Takoucht.
His unfortunate opponent, Yesner Talavera (15-12-1), was subjected to a frustrating fight on his 25th birthday where he was hit frequently with his own shots just catching air, as Masoud dazzled in his Queensberry debut.
Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren signed Masoud in the summer following his fifth victory at Villa Park in May.
In the fourth round, Shabaz smiled as he evaded his vexed opponent's angered attacks, pulled out the Ali shuffle and even replicated 'Sugar' Ray Leonard's wind-up punches. His output was high and accurate, he landed shots to both body and head in variations, with his uppercut being particularly successful, one landing in the fifth round that would've put lesser opponents down, but the tough Nicaraguan, who has taken the headliner Sofiane Takoucht the distance over eight rounds, has only been stopped once during his 30-fight career when he challenged for the IBF Inter-Continental bantamweight title over 12 rounds.
Another right uppercut in the sixth and final round prompted immediate applause from the audience, as did a lead right in the last minute of the fight.
Aside from shining in his learning fights, the 23-year-old 'Maverick' from Stoke-on-Trent is capturing the attention of both opponents and onlookers during sparring encounters up and down the country, with many tipping him for stardom.
The talented featherweight is already drawing comparisons to Prince Naseem Hamed, who was also guided by Warren during his glittering career.
Shabaz has won all six fights, one by knockout on his pro debut in May 2018, and has yet to concede a single round. His opponents have all been the usual suspects as he traditionally learns his trade, but three of the six have been winning fighters - Nicaraguan bantamweight champion Yesner Talavera (15-12-1); Brayan Mairena (10-9-1); WBA Fedecentro flyweight titlist Cristian Narvaez (15-10-4).