Jamel Herring overcame a bad injury to retain his WBO championship title against Jonathan Oquendo this past Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The 130-pound titlist suffered a bad cut on his right eyebrow from the head of his Puerto Rican opponent in round five, a move that referee Tony Weeks ruled as an intentional foul.
Herring told the ring doctor he could not see because of the blood in his eye that ultimately culminated the bout after eight full frames. The official verdict has been a disqualification hence the injury was caused by an intentional headbutt.
Top Rank originally planned to match Herring against former two-division world champion Carl Frampton later this year, but the injury could prevent the promotional company to put together the fight in the coming months.
“I still want the Carl Frampton fight next by all means. November, December, whatever. I still want that fight next,” declared Herring after the fight, and before he went to a local hospital to get his injured eye checked.
November would seem to be too soon anyway as the injury needs time to heal. Another hurdle could be the recently announced schedule of the World Boxing Organization that made clear Herring must face his mandatory challenger no later than in January 2021.
“In light of the preceding circumstances, the WBO granted Herring a five-month period to fulfill mandatory title defense obligations and his next mandatory is due in January 2021,” said Gustavo Olivieri on behalf of the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning organization to BoxingScene.com.
Herring’s mandatory challenger as of date is former WBO featherweight champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson.
What would come next greatly depends on the words of the doctors regarding the shape of Herring’s injury as well as on the reaction of the WBO.
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.