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Jamel Herring won’t vacate WBO belt, will face Stevenson vs. Nakathila winner

Shakur Stevenson boxing photo

By Chris Williams: Jamel ‘Semper Fi’ Herring has decided to defend his WBO super featherweight title against the winner of the June 12th fight between Shakur Stevenson and Jeremiah Nakathila.

The World Boxing Organization is insisting that Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) defend against the winner of the Stevenson vs. Nakathila fight, which means he can’t face WBC 130-lb champion Oscar Valdez first as he had hoped.

Not surprisingly, Herring, 35, doesn’t want to vacate his WBO title because that belt would make a difference in him getting a bigger payday against Valdez.

It’s interesting that the World Boxing Organization is insisting that Herring take the fight next against the Stevenson-Nakathila fight rather than letting him face WBC super featherweight champion Valdez in a unification clash because that would be a huge fight.

Herring is coming off a big sixth-round knockout victory over Ireland’s Carl Frampton on April 3rd earlier this month in Dubai. The victory for the 5’11” Herring foiled Frampton’s dreams of capturing a third division world title, and it sent him into retirement. ‘

Going into the fight, Herring was viewed as a non-puncher by many boxing fans, but he showed excellent power in catching Frampton repeatedly with big uppercuts that eventually forced the stoppage.

Stevenson happy Herring won’t vacate his WBO title

“Jamel [Herring] didn’t duck,” said Shakur Stevenson on Twitter. “I got to respect him for accepting this a** whopping that we’re going to put on him. But we’re focused on June 12th. I have to handle business first [against Jeremiah Nakathila,” said Stevenson.

Shakur Stevenson boxing photo

Former WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) will be fighting Jeremiah Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs) on June 12th for the interim WBO 130-lb title on ESPN at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Las Vegas.

Top Rank is trying to turn the 2016 U.S Olympic silver medalist Stevenson into a star, but he clearly lacks the punching needed for him to make that leap. His hand speed is decent, but far from great, and he’s difficult to understand at times when speaking because of his thick East Coast accent.

Herring doesn’t necessarily need to fight the finesse fighter Shakur next if he doesn’t wish to. He can always vacate the WBO title and move up to the 135-lb division to chase more lucrative fights against three-belt champions Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, or Devin Haney.

The Teofimo fight should be an easy one for Top Rank to make, as long as they move quickly to make it before the New Yorker vacates his belts to go up to 140.

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