ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 23: Shakur Stevenson is victorious as he defeats Jamel Herring for the WBO world junior lightweight championship at State Farm Arena on October 23, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Looks like the clash between Shakur Stevenson and Frank Martin may become a reality after all.
A deal between the unbeaten lightweight contenders has been verbally agreed to and will take place later this year. Boxingscene’s Keith Idec was the first to report the story.
Should the fight take place, it will be an attractive clash between contenders rated in the top 10 by The Ring. Stevenson and Martin are rated No. 5 and 6, respectively, at 135 pounds.
The fight would take place sometime in November and will air live on ESPN, which has an exclusive deal with Top Rank to televise/stream their fight cards.
According to Idec, a deal was reached between Stevenson, who is co-promoted by Top Rank and Antonio Leonard, and Martin, who fights under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner and is promoted by Errol Spence’s Man Down Promotions. Top Rank negotiated with TGB Promotions, which is the promoter of record for several PBC cards.
The deal between the two parties came ahead of a WBC purse bid that was scheduled for Tuesday (September 5), at 1 p.m. local time.
Last week, The World Boxing Council (WBC) ordered Stevenson, a world titleholder in two weight divisions, and Martin to fight for the vacant WBC world lightweight title. This came after the WBC, last month, named Devin Haney ‘champion in recess’ after Haney decided to move up in weight to challenge WBC world junior welterweight titleholder Regis Prograis.
Discussions between Stevenson and Ring lightweight champion Devin Haney never got on track after Haney defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko in a very close fight on May 20. Ironically, Lomachenko is still currently ranked No. 1 by the WBC.
According to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel, 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.
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.
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]