‘We’re not gonna step aside’ – Stevenson ready to block Frampton Herring title fight

Shakur Stevenson [14(8)-0] is ready to throw a spanner in the Jamel Herring [22(10)-2(1)] versus Carl Frampton [28(16)-2] works.

The American is adamant he will evoke his mandatory status and fight the champion next, which is anything but music to ‘The Jackal’ or his supporters ears.

A Herring Frampton June 13 WBO world super featherweight world title fight was quashed due to the pandemic, but both champion and potential challenger have continued to talk positively about a meeting.

Indeed, Top Rank boss Bob Arum and MTK’s Jamie Conlan have both suggested Herring would put his title on the line against Frampton in January and potentially in Belfast.

It may appear strange for a clash to be all but agreed when the WBO had ordered Herring to defend against the Rio Olympic medalist. However with Stevenson being a Top Rank stablemate of both fighters, it was assumed he would be open to step-aside requests.

That now doesn’t appear to be the case. The American has his sights set on becoming a two weight world champion in just his 15th fight – and wants the fight next.

“The WBO is ordering him to make his mandatory, and I’m his mandatory,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “I can’t speak on what he wanna do. But I know that he Tweeted that if he’s not fighting Frampton in his next fight, he’s either gonna move up or retire. But I don’t know. I have no clue.”

“It’s an opportunity to become a two-weight division world champ,” Stevenson adds. “In only 15 fights, I don’t know who else has done that, especially at my age. So, I think it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m just ready to take advantage of it.”

Josh Dubin, Stevenson’s co-manager, has called for Cincinnati’s Herring to vacate the title if he has no intention of facing Stevenson.

“We saw that Herring tried to announce a fight between him and Frampton on ESPN,” Dubin said.

“If that’s what he wants to do, and that’s the only fight that he wants, what we would ask him to do is just go ahead and vacate. Because if he’s not gonna fight Shakur, there’s no reason to hold up the process of us putting together a fight for the vacant title.

“There’s no sense in stringing it along, because our position isn’t gonna change. Shakur is the mandatory. We’re not gonna ask for an exception. We’re not gonna step aside. So, there’s really only two options on the table – to vacate or to fight Shakur.”

If Herring was to vacate he would no longer really appeal to Frampton. The Belfast fighter is attracted by ‘Semper Fi’s’ title rather than the fighter himself. The 33-year-old has his sights set on becoming Ireland’s first ever three weight world champion and at present Herring provides a pathway to history.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com