Shakur Stevenson and Frank Martin looked set to face off this November for the WBC Lightweight World title.
With the belt now vacant following Devin Haney’s plans to move up to super-lightweight and challenge for a title there, Stevenson, as the sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger, will be fighting to be champion in his next fight.
The opportunity to face him was reportedly offered to Vasily Lomachenko and Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz, but both turned it down. Next was fellow undefeated southpaw, Frank Martin.
Despite promotional and broadcast barriers – Stevenson with Top Rank and ESPN, Martin with PBC and Showtime – the teams seemingly reached an agreement before purse bids were required.
However, it was then reported that when Top Rank sent the contract to PBC, they were informed that Martin was no longer interested in the fight.
This prompted a widespread response from fans and pundits on missing out on a technically excellent fight.
Stevenson immediately took to social media where he accused Martin of ducking. The 28-year-old has now responded, unsurprisingly denying that – saying simply ‘I ain’t duck s**t…’
I Ain’t Duck Shit…
— Frank Martin (@TheGhost_2016) September 11, 2023
Whether or not ‘The Ghost’ Martin has anything else to offer on the situation remains to be seen.
Now, it looks like the opportunity to face Stevenson for the vacant belt will fall to the Dominican Republic’s Edwin De Los Santos.
Should the Newark fighter win, he will become a three-division champion at the age of 26, and continue to build a legacy that many are already recognising has the potential to be great.
It’s unclear if Top Rank will attempt to keep the same date for his next bout, whomever it’s against. The promotional company had previously targeted Thursday November 16 in Las Vegas to coincide with the Formula 1 weekend.