Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton are going to face each other on February 27th, at least according to the latest news. The event is yet to have a venue, but it is planned to get staged in London, England.
The bout will be a voluntary defense of WBO super featherweight titlist Herring after the World Boxing Organization has given a green light to the matchup by bending its own rules and announcements back-to-back over the last couple of months.
Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) last faced his mandatory challenger in November 2019 when he decisioned Lamont Roach Jr over 12 rounds at the Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. The WBO granted the champion a voluntary defense once boxing was back on track following the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
That time, in early September last year, Herring defended his belt against Puerto Rican Jonathan Oquendo by way of disqualification in eight frames.
According to the WBO, the champion had to face his mandatory in Shakur Stevenson by no later than late January this year, but those plans went Bolivian when Top Rank made sure they want to match Herring against Carl Frampton next in another voluntary defense. Somehow, the WBO agreed to the matchup between Herring and Frampton but made sure the fight needed to take place no later than by the culmination of 2020 in order to be able to please mandatory challenger Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) as soon as possible in the new year.
“We have always been disappointed and vocal about the two voluntary defenses handed to Herring. What is worse is that [Herring vs Frampton] is now postponed until February two months after it was supposed to take place. That means a longer wait got all the other boxers,” stated Namibian boxing promoter Nestor Tobias, who is tirelessly pushing his client, No. 2 rated contender Jeremiah Nakathila, towards his world title opportunity.
“Herring and Frampton must be really special to the WBO to be accorded such special privileges, but we are done complaining because clearly nobody is listening. We will continue to concentrate on our fighter and hope that he gets a title shot one day.”
Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs), who is the current WBO Global titlist and has participated in ten WBO sanctioned title fight in his past 12 career bouts, has been rated in the top 5 by the World Boxing Organization for years. The Namibian contender and his team are really confused by the recent actions of the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning body and would love to get compensated for lost time.
“Herring vs Frampton was approved on condition that it takes place in December 2020, that didn't take place and the right thing would be to call off the fight and sanction Herring vs Stevenson,” declared Tobias to BoxingScene.com.
In fact, even Team Stevenson is seeking out for solution by the WBO, according to Josh Dubin, who is Stevenson’s attorney and co-manager.
“Mr. Stevenson agreed to step aside as the mandatory challenger to allow the Herring v. Frampton bout to proceed, provided that the bout occur no later than December 31, 2020,” stated Dubin in a formal correspondence with the WBO on Jan. 4, a copy of which has been obtained [and released in an article written by Jake Donovan on January 12] by BoxingScene.com. “The Resolution provides that the Herring v. Frampton bout ‘cannot be postponed or canceled.’ The Resolution also states that the decision is ‘a final decision of the WBO Championship Committee.’ December 31, 2020 has come and gone and the Herring v. Frampton bout did not happen.”
Dubin made sure he would like to see his client getting his shot at the title in due course.
“We request the immediate reinstatement of Shakur Stevenson as the mandatory challenger… Mr. Herring is required to either fight Mr. Stevenson in his next bout or relinquish the WBO Jr. Lightweight Championship so that Mr. Stevenson can fight for the vacant WBO Jr. Lightweight Championship in his next bout against the highest ranked contender.”
That ‘highest-ranked contender’ is Nakathila himself. And the Namibian team is more than ready to take on Stevenson next.
“The WBO should make justice and take the title away from Herring. And alternatively, the least the WBO can do is sanction an interim title fight between Nakathila and Stevenson to keep the division going,” concluded Tobias.
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at pradaricst[at]yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.