Stevenson-Martin fight called off, Top Rank says

Boxing

Shakur Stevenson is once again seeking an opponent for his lightweight title shot.

Stevenson was slated to fight undefeated contender Frank Martin after the sides agreed to a deal earlier this week, but the fight is now off, Top Rank officials told ESPN on Saturday.

Top Rank officials said that they, along with the PBC side, notified the WBC on Tuesday that a deal was reached for the WBC vacant lightweight title fight, which canceled the purse bid scheduled for that afternoon.

Top Rank said it sent a contract over to PBC the following day but was later informed that Martin was longer proceeding with the fight. Martin was set to earn a career-high seven-figure payday, per sources.

The fight was slated to headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on Nov. 16 in Las Vegas, days before the debut of the Formula 1 Grand Prix on the Vegas Strip.

The next available contender in the WBC lightweight rankings is Edwin De Los Santos. The WBC named undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney a champion in recess after he decided to move up to 140 pounds for a shot at the organization’s junior welterweight title.

Haney will challenge Regis Prograis on Dec. 9 in San Francisco. Stevenson, meanwhile, could fight the Dominican Republic’s De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) if a deal can be reached.

“Shakur Stevenson is willing to fight anybody in and around his weight class,” Top Rank spokesperson Evan Korn told ESPN. “The fact that so many fighters have turned down the challenge is a testament to his greatness.

“It’s disappointing that the fans will be deprived of such a highly anticipated matchup.”

Stevenson is promoted by Top Rank and Martin is aligned with PBC, which has a deal with Showtime.

PBC didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Martin’s trainer, Derrick James, ESPN’s reigning Trainer of the Year, didn’t respond to a text message seeking comment.

“Most ducked fighter in the sport of boxing,” Stevenson posted on Instagram. “Edwin get ready, I’m tired of [you] saying my name.”

Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) is one of the fastest-rising stars in boxing. The 26-year-old is ESPN’s No. 9 pound-for-pound boxer (and No. 4 lightweight). The Newark, New Jersey, native has won titles at 126 and 130 pounds and will now look to do the same in a third weight class.

Martin (18-0, 12 KOs) is coming off a close decision win over Artem Harutyunyan, whom he dropped in Round 12 of their July fight.

Prior to that, Martin, 28, outpointed Michel Rivera.

Stevenson, a southpaw who is perhaps the sport’s best defensive fighter, scored a sixth-round stoppage of Shuichiro Yoshino in April in his lightweight debut.

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