Shakur Stevenson expects Jamel Herring to beat Carl Frampton in their upcoming fight for Herring’s WBO junior lightweight title.
Stevenson also anticipates that he’ll fight for that championship in his next fight, just not against Herring. The former WBO featherweight champ thinks Herring will move up from the 130-pound division to the lightweight limit of 135 after defeating Frampton on April 3 in Dubai.
The 23-year-old Stevenson discussed that situation during an appearance on “The Ak & Barak Show,” which streams Monday through Friday on DAZN and SiriusXM.
“I think Herring will win, but … me and Herring are not gonna fight,” Stevenson told co-hosts Barak Bess and Akin Reyes. “So, I’ll probably just fight for a vacant belt.”
Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), a 2016 Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, is the WBO’s number one-ranked, mandatory challenger for its 130-pound crown. If whoever wins the Herring-Frampton fight declines to make a mandated defense versus Stevenson and vacates that title, Stevenson would have to face the highest-ranked, available contender for that unclaimed WBO championship.
Oscar Valdez (20-0, 23 KOs) is the WBO’s second-ranked contender in the junior lightweight division, but he knocked out Miguel Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) to win the WBC title on February 20 in Las Vegas, which likely would leave Stevenson to fight third-ranked Namibian contender Jeremiah Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs).
Stevenson would have no issue with fighting the 35-year-old Herring (22-2, 10 KOs), even though they’re friendly and have spent a lot of time training together in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He doesn’t sense Cincinnati’s Herring is as willing to fight him, which could lead to Herring returning to the lightweight division.
“I just heard him say in an interview that he was looking for bigger opportunities at 135 after he fight Frampton,” Stevenson said. “So, I’ll be his mandatory, [but he’ll probably] give up the belt. He gonna vacate the belt and I’ll probably fight whoever for it.”
Northern Ireland’s Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs) is the WBO’s fourth-ranked challenger for Herring’s title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.