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Shakur Stevenson & Frank Martin to fight on November 16 or December 9 for vacant WBC lightweight title on ESPN

Image: Shakur Stevenson & Frank Martin to fight on November 16 or December 9 for vacant WBC lightweight title on ESPN

By Brian Webber: Former two-division world champion Shakur Stevenson and Frank Martin have reportedly agreed to battle for the vacant WBC lightweight title on November 16th or December 9th in a Top Rank card on ESPN.

According to ESPN, the Stevenson-Martin fight’s location will be in either Las Vegas or New York. A purse bid that had been scheduled has now been canceled.

The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur, a highly skilled defensive specialist, has proven to be very difficult to hit during his six-year professional career.

Can Frank Martin get to Stevenson?

With Stevenson’s ability to fight at range, he’s going to make it problematic for the bigger, stronger 28-year-old Frank Martin (18-0 13 KOs) to land his shots.

Martin has the power to hurt Shakur if he can catch him coming in or if he’s willing to pursue him around the ring to land. We saw how two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez found success against Stevenson in their fight in 2016 by chasing him and not letting him escape.

Shakur was in tears at the end of their fight, but he only had himself to blame. He couldn’t handle the heat from Robeisy, and running wasn’t the answer to his problems in that fight.

Martin will need good foot speed and an ability to cut off the ring if he’s to have any shot at beating the fleet of foot Shakur. Frank’s last fight against Artem Harutyunyan will have helped him a lot to get ready for the eel-like defensive ability of Shakur.

In Martin’s fight against Harutyunyan last July, he struggled to land his headshot during the first nine rounds of the contest. It was only when Martin began focusing on landing to the body of Harutyunyan in the tenth round that he found success.

Martin will need to target the body of Shakur if he’s to have a decent chance of winning because he doesn’t possess the foot speed of a talent like Robeisy Ramirez to chase him around all night. Shakur uses that pull-back move to avoid punches, and he’s not going to be hittable for Martin if he targets his head.

#2 WBC Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) had hoped to face #1 Vasily Lomachenko for the vacant World Boxing Council 135-lb title after champion Devin Haney fled the division, choosing to head towards safer territory & greener pastures at 140.

However, Lomachenko will be taking the remainder of 2023 off, according to promoter Bob Arum. He could return in 2024 to face the Stevenson vs. Martin winner for the WBC title.

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