WBC mandates Shakur Stevenson-Frank Martin contend for lightweight title
Shakur Stevenson may have an opponent lined up for his next fight, which could be for the vacant WBC world lightweight title. The World Boxing Council (WBC) has ordered Stevenson and Frank Martin, The Ring’s Nos. 5 and 6 lightweights, to fight for its world title once that belt (which is currently held by undisputed champ Devin Haney) once it becomes vacant.
ESPN boxing reporter Mark Kriegel made the announcement during Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN telecast.
Kriegel reported there have been ongoing negotiations between Top Rank, which promotes Stevenson, and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), which represents Martin. Stevenson is also promoted by Antonio Leonard.
Should a deal not be made between both sides, the WBC will call for a purse bid on September 5.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 knockouts), who was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, became the mandatory challenger for the WBC lightweight title on April 8, stopping Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshino in the sixth round. The 26-year-old was a world titleholder at 126 and 130 pounds.
Discussions between Stevenson and Ring Magazine lightweight champion Haney never got on track after Haney defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko in a very close fight on May 20. Lomachenko is still currently ranked No. 1 by the WBC.
Last month, the WBC named Haney ‘champion in recess’ after Haney decided to move up in weight to challenge WBC 140-pound titleholder Regis Prograis.
Lomachenko reportedly will not fight for the rest of the year, and Isaac Cruz, who is ranked No. 3 by the WBC, is in negotiations to face Gervonta Davis later this year, this according to Kriegel.
Martin (18-0, 12 KOs), who currently lives and trains in Dallas, Texas, last fought on July 15, defeating Artem Harutyunyan by unanimous decision in a very close fight. The win over Harutyunyan took place almost seven months after the 28-year-old defeated Michel Rivera in a clash of unbeaten lightweights.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]
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