The hope for Jamel Herring is to follow up the most notable win of his career with his biggest challenge to date.
Whether or not it results in a title unification clash remains to be seen, although not the driving force behind the direction he next heads.
The reigning WBO junior lightweight titlist made waves following a 6th round stoppage of former two-division champ Carl Frampton (28-3, 16KOs), scoring two knockdowns before the Belfast native’s corner called for the referee to end the onslaught. Herring went into the fight hoping that with a win would come the chance to next enter a title unification clash, namely a showdown with recently crowned WBC titlist Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23KOs).
“I’ve always wanted to get another title,” Herring noted after registering the third defense of his junior lightweight title. “This was a great test here. I know Oscar Valdez has expressed interest in unifying. I would love to fight him.
“Most people know I had plans to move up (to lightweight) at least. But, if that fight’s available, we can make that happen especially if we can make that lineal title available. Let’s get that title on the line and go from there.”
Standing in the way of that dream is an overdue mandatory title defense versus former WBO featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8KOs). The WBO has issued a 30-day period for Herring to either commit in writing to next face the winner of the June 12 interim WBO title fight between Stevenson and Namibia’s Jeremiah Nakathila or agree to vacate the title.
Because Herring has been granted back-to-back voluntary title defenses, there does not exist the option to file for an exception. Of course, the chance to fight Valdez—coming off of a 10th round knockout of Miguel Berchelt (38-2, 34KOs) in a stunningly one-sided performance to win the crown—would be worth leaving behind one belt in pursuit of another.
“I want to be that real champion, the true lineal champion,” Herring told BoxingScene.com. “[A fight with] Valdez should help get us there. After that, I can ride off to bigger and better things, leaving the division on a high note.
As for my future, I would love to unify with Oscar Valdez. If we can’t get that fight, then I’d love to become a two-division champion by winning at lightweight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox