Carl Frampton’s World Title path fogs following WBO Mandatory order


Carl Frampton‘s journey towards a fourth world title has taken another twist this afternoon.

The WBO have ordered purse bids for a mandatory world title defence from featherweight champion Óscar Valdez [26(20)-0] versus Shakur Stevenson [12(7)-0].

The Puerto Rican body has stated that bids are due in by Friday August 2nd and must be at least $150,000.

Belfast’s Frampton [26(15)-2(0)] has been targeting Valdez for some two years now and what impact today’s announcement will have remains to be seen.

Frampton, Valdez, and Stevenson are all promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

‘The Jackal’ returns from last December’s loss to IBF champ Josh Warrington with a warm-up in Philadelphia on August 10th versus Mexican Emmanuel Domingues.

It has been consistently stated that Frampton, assuming he wins, will go on to challenge Valdez but a number of issues have ensured that this is not a sure thing.

Following a somewhat lacklustre defence versus Jason Sanchez last month, Valdez has suggested that he may move up in weight – with Frampton urging him to remain in the 126lbs class for what looks an extremel attractive match-up.

Meanwhile, the rapidly rising Stevenson has been making waves, headlining his first show earlier this month and calling for, among others, Valdez, Frampton, and Warrington.

It’s unclear how the connected rivals will proceed from here.

Providing Stevenson with ‘step aside’ money has been suggested but the ambitious Olympic silver medallist seems especially keen on the fight – and could seriously delay Frampton’s plans.

Valdez’s weight is another talking point and the Mexican very may well move up to super featherweight, perhaps clearing the path for Frampton to box Stevenson in a vacant title bout.

Arum, who is said by many to hold particular sway over the WBO, has said previously that Valdez-Frampton is his preference but the controversial Stevenson, who is managed by Andre Ward, will need to be enticed to keep in line with these wishes.

Encouragingly, for Frampton, Team Valdez are not particularly keen on facing the Newark youngster.

Management team Espinoza Boxing responded to the WBO’s order by stating that “Oscar Valdez wants a big name. Either Warrington or Frampton. Feels he deserve a fight with one of them.”

“Valdez has been at featherweight for his whole career. Defended his title 6 times successfully. It’s no longer easy make the weight but will for Warrington or Frampton. He feels he deserves those names.”

Frampton is currently Stateside preparing for his clash at the Liacouras Center with Domingues and has noted that rematches with Warrington and WBA titlist Leo Santa Cruz also appeal – but a Valdez bout had, and still does despite this afternoon’s decree, seemed the likliest route.

dpg

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie