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Frank Martin withdraws from title fight vs. Shakur Stevenson
A deal that was agreed to on Tuesday is dead on Saturday
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Lightweight contender Frank Martin pulled out of a fall fight against Shakur Stevenson for the vacant WBC lightweight title, Stevenson promoter Todd duBoef, the president of Top Rank, told Fight Freaks Unite on Saturday.
“We contracted with TGB (Promotions) for Frank Martin and we got the chicken guy, Frank Perdue, instead,” an irritated duBoef said. “We agreed to terms for the fight and we sent them a contract and now the guy doesn’t want the fight.
“These guys can talk all they want on social media and say this and that, that they’ll whip Shakur’s butt, but they don’t want these fights. It’s a disappointment for the sport. You get these guys chirping everywhere and talking smack and then this guy gets the opportunity he said he wanted, we send the contract we agreed to and then he turns down seven figures. Give me a break. It’s disappointing but it’s their issue, not mine. We’ll figure something out. Shakur will still fight. Why should he be punished? He will fight anyone. Everyone knows that.”
On Tuesday, hours before a WBC purse bid to determine the promotional rights to Stevenson-Martin, Stevenson promoter Top Rank and TGB Promotions’ Tom Brown, on behalf of Martin, Premier Boxing Champions and Man Down Promotions, informed the WBC that they had reached an agreement for Top Rank to promote the bout and the purse bid was canceled.
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Top Rank was making plans for the bout to headline an ESPN card at the MGM Grand on Nov. 16, the Thursday night of a big week in Las Vegas culminating with the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix on Nov. 19, or at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 9 following ESPN’s broadcast of college football’s annual Heisman Trophy Award show, also taking place in New York.
Last month the WBC ordered Stevenson-Martin to fill its vacancy at 135 pounds. Stevenson was the mandatory challenger for undisputed champion Devin Haney, but he notified the WBC that he is moving up to junior welterweight to challenge titleholder Regis Prograis, at which point the WBC belt was vacated and Haney was reclassified as its lightweight “champion in recess.”
Former champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who plans to take the rest of the year off following his narrow decision loss challenging Haney in May, and Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz, who many believe is headed to a rematch with WBA “regular” lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis, were ahead of Martin in the WBC rankings, but when they passed on the title fight against Stevenson, Martin got the opportunity.
He apparently accepted and then pulled out.
“Tom Brown called me and told the kid doesn’t want to go through with the fight anymore,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti, who negotiated the deal with Brown, told Fight Freaks Unite. “The deal was agreed to and contract was sent. It’s not the fault of PBC. It was all the kid’s change of heart.”
DuBoef added, “It’s OK to say you don’t want to fight Shakur but don’t say you’ll fight anyone and then agree to terms and pull out. It’s disappointing and a waste of everyone’s time. Not many fighters get seven figures to challenge for a title. He didn’t want it I guess. The guy was chirping and vocal on social media and supposedly ready to go. I guess not.”
Brown could not be reached for comment.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), 26, a former featherweight and unified junior lightweight titlist from Newark, New Jersey, became the mandatory challenger with a sixth-round knockout of then-unbeaten Japanese contender Shuichiro Yoshino in a final eliminator on April 8. He will still fight for the vacant title, but now the WBC will have to continue going down its rankings to find somebody willing to fight Stevenson.
“Shakur is still fighting and we’ll make a big night of it,” duBoef said.
Fellow southpaw Martin (18-0, 12 KOs), 28, of Indianapolis, scored a unanimous decision against Artem Harutyunyan that he punctuated with a 12th-round knockdown, on July 15 on Showtime.
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Martin photo: Ryan Hafey/PBC
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