Top Rank’s longstanding plan to pit WBO super featherweight Jamel Herring against Carl Frampton recently hit a snag in the form of mandatory challenger Shakur Stevenson, who theoretically had the right to challenge “Semper Fi” by the end of January. The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire now reports that the WBO will allow Herring-Frampton to go through, with the caveat that the winner then face Stevenson within 90 days.
There are plenty of matchups in combat sports that can accurately be described as “cursed,” and this is certainly one of them. Frampton (28-2, 16 KO) in particular has seen misfortune after misfortune since signing with Top Rank, including multiple hand injuries, and his planned Belfast clash with Herring (22-2, 10 KO) fell through earlier this year due to COVID.
Both men recently underwhelmed in stay-busy fights, Frampton stopping Darren Traynor after a shaky start and Herring taking a DQ win over Jonathan Oquendo. There’s no guarantee we’ll see either of them face Stevenson, as Herring has been talking retirement and I could very easily see Frampton doing the same; he’s got a lot of mileage and is fighting well above his ideal weight. Should the winner vacate, Stevenson, who was automatically made mandatory after vacating the featherweight title, would presumably face #3 Jeremiah Nakathila; #2 Oscar Valdez is presently busy with Miguel Berchelt.
UPDATE: Frampton says the two will fight before year’s end.