Despite having contractual dibs on the winner of Jamel Herring vs Carl Frampton, ESPN reports that WBO mandatory super featherweight challenger Shakur Stevenson is set to headline a June 12th ESPN card in New York City, “most likely” against #2 contender Jeremiah Nakathila. Said card, which would come on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, will also feature Edgar Berlanga if he comes out of his upcoming clash with Demond Nicholson unscathed.
Per Cameron Wolfe, the matchup “might not” be finalized until after Herring and Frampton go at it on April 3rd. Should the winner of that fight elect to vacate or retire, as both men have intimated in the past, this proposed scrap would pit #1 against #2 for the title.
Namibia’s Nakathila (21-1, 17 KO) has actually gotten leapfrogged in the rankings by rising featherweight champions twice in a row, first by Oscar Valdez (who went on to successfully challenge WBC champ Miguel Berchelt instead) and then by Stevenson (15-0, 8 KO). “Low Key” has won 10 straight on the African circuit, all by knockout, since a 2016 road loss to Evgeny Chuprakov, picking up a few WBO trinkets along the way.
Stevenson, who’d previously vacated his 126-pound title without a defense, will be making his third appearance at 130 pounds, having run roughshod over Felix Caraballo and Toka Kahn Clary in previous efforts. He figures to win this without issue, though it’s nice to see Nakathila finally getting a major fight after all the ranking shenanigans he had to deal with.