Shakur Stevenson isn’t being unclear at all: He wants a belt at 130, and he’s got Jamel Herring in his sights.
Herring (23-2, 11 KO) retained his WBO belt on Saturday, dominating Carl Frampton in Dubai. Stevenson (15-0, 8 KO) has also called out WBC titlist Oscar Valdez, who is now seen as the real top dog in the division, and Valdez has said he wants the fight, too.
But it doesn’t look like that’s happening. Stevenson, 23, will reportedly fight in Jeremiah Nakathila on June 12. So Stevenson now sees winning the WBO belt as a way to force Valdez into the ring for what would then be a unification:
Congrats to hellavu perfomance @JamelHerring what’s da next move tho champ? I need that belt for Valdez to have a reason to fight me— Shakur Stevenson (@ShakurStevenson) April 3, 2021
As laid out earlier, Stevenson seems to be anything but Herring’s first choice. But Stevenson also Tweeted a photo of a WBO letter dated March 23, 2021, mandating that the Herring-Frampton winner (Herring, obviously) fight the winner of Stevenson-Nakathila. Herring will have 30 days from yesterday to “declare in writing his intention” to fight Stevenson or Nakathila, and if not he’ll have to vacate, per the order. Stevenson-Nakathila, for what it’s worth, is currently slated to be an interim title fight, which is stupid, but interim titles generally are.
If Herring were to vacate, Stevenson-Nakathila will be for the full WBO title, but it seems Stevenson would rather take it from Herring than simply claim another vacant belt, which is what he had to do at 126 when the aforementioned Valdez moved up to 130 instead of fighting Herring, his mandatory.
Stevenson is basically begging for a big fight right now, and I don’t mean that in an insulting way at all. It’s clear this is a young fighter who really wants to fight the top guys, to prove himself beyond just in-house ESPN hype and always passing the eye test against opponents everyone expects him to beat.