Shakur Stevenson and Frank Martin have been ordered to fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title, ESPN.com reports.
You may recall that now-former undisputed champion Devin Haney was moved to “champion in recess” by the WBC recently, amid expectations that he is set to move up to 140 lbs to fight Regis Prograis, which is still in limbo but also seemingly still expected.
The 26-year-old Stevenson (20-0, 10 KO) is a former titlist at 126 and 130, making his lightweight debut in April, a dominant win over Shuichiro Yoshino.
The 28-year-old Martin (18-0, 12 KO) last fought on July 15, scraping out a win over Artem Harutyunyan.
The obvious potential roadblock is that Stevenson is a Top Rank fighter and Martin is a Premier Boxing Champions fighter. That doesn’t mean the deal can’t be done, but it’s a real hurdle.
If a straight-up deal can’t be reached, the sides go to purse bid on Sept. 5, at which point it’s most likely that Top Rank would have to win the bid. Being totally honest, they just aren’t going to have Stevenson go fight on a PBC show against Martin, even with a world title at stake. Stevenson is one of the most-hyped and most-pushed stars on the Top Rank/ESPN roster.
Both fighters have shown strong desire to get a title fight and have repeatedly stated they want to fight the best opposition, though, and if they both push for it, a deal really can get done. It’s the best hope.