Shakur Stevenson’s search for an opponent seems to finally be over.
After winning world titles in both feather and super-featherweight, the Newark native has had just one bout at lightweight before being announced as the WBC’s mandatory challenger.
He was ready to fight current undisputed champion, Devin Haney, but despite serious bad blood between the pair and a reported offer from Haney, he will instead move up to 140lbs to challenge super-lightweight champ, Regis Prograis.
That leaves Stevenson battling for the vacant title next, but airing frustrations that no top fighter wanted anything to do with him.
In a clip shared on X, the WBC’s President, Mauricio Sulaiman, said that both Vasily Lomachenko and Isaac Cruz – ranked number one and number three respectively – both said no to facing Stevenson for the vacant belt.
“It was already the process, it has had many changes. Shakur Stevenson was initially ordered against Lomachenko.
Lomachenko declined, so it was ordered Isaac Cruz, who also declined, and now the fight of Shakur Stevenson versus Frank Martin for the WBC’s lightweight title is already being negotiated.”
Promoter Bob Arum recently said that Lomachenko wasn’t interested in the fight due to taking some time away from the sport and returning to his still war-torn country of Ukraine.
Stevenson is convinced the former champion would ‘rather retire’ than fight him.
Any talks with ‘Pitbull’ Cruz were either extremely brief or kept out of the public eye entirely. The 25-2 Mexican is rumoured to be negotiating a rematch with Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis for the end of the year.
So the opportunity falls to Frank Martin, an undefeated southpaw just like Stevenson. The Derrick James lightweight is fresh off a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Artem Harutyunyan.
With Sulaiman confirming the negotiations are underway, it won’t be long until fans find out if a deal can be made between Top Rank (Stevenson) and PBC (Martin), or if purse bids will be called.