As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, Jamel Herring will not have to make his mandated title defense next against Shakur Stevenson.
Instead, Herring has been allowed by the World Boxing Organization to make a voluntary defense against Carl Frampton.
Herring is now in line to fight Frampton before the end of the year.
As part of WBO's order, the winner will have to fight Stevenson next or vacate the junior lightweight title.
If Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) wins, then Stevenson will be ready to face him. If Herring were to relinquish his championship instead of defending it versus Stevenson, the undefeated former WBO featherweight champion would fight the highest ranked available contender.
“If I’m being honest with you, if Jamel say no and don’t wanna fight, I don’t know how the WBO’s gonna work or what they rules gonna be,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “They probably gonna make me fight whoever’s next in line."
Northern Ireland’s Frampton (28-2, 16 KOs) is the WBO’s number six contender for Herring’s title. Frampton is co-promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., Stevenson’s promoter, but the WBO’s third-ranked contender, Jeremiah Nakathila (19-1, 15 KOs), already has expressed interest in fighting Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) for that vacant championship if Herring-Frampton winner gives it up.
Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs), who is ranked second among the WBO’s 130-pound contenders, is unavailable because he already is committed to a fight against WBC champion Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs, 1 NC) on December 12.
There is always the possibility that Frampton will unseat Herring and capture his third divisional title.
Stevenson is certain he would beat Frampton convincingly.
“I think that I would beat the sh-t out of Frampton,” Stevenson said. “I think that I would kill Frampton. I think that I’d end up stopping him in under about seven rounds. I think that Frampton is a good fighter. I respect him. But I think that it’s levels and I’m on a whole different level. I’m young, I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m sharp, I’m smart. I think that I’m Frampton’s worst nightmare if we ever got in the ring.”
Stevenson, 23, would much rather face the 33-year-old Frampton in a major event than taking on third ranked contender Nakathila for a vacant title.
“Don’t get me wrong, I know the number three guy is in line, but I don’t feel he’s on my level. He’s not a big name and he’s not that good of a fighter. I think he got one loss already. I think me and Frampton would be a major fight. I think that would make a lot more sense than fighting the number-three guy,” Stevenson said.
Just as the 2016 Olympic silver medalist was willing to do to secure a featherweight title unification fight against England’s Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs), Stevenson would face Frampton in his hometown of Belfast or elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
“I think that me and Frampton would be a big fight, a major fight," Stevenson said. "I think Frampton is the bigger draw. He got a whole country behind him. I don’t mind going to his territory and beating the sh-t out of him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.