Stevenson next fight for IBF Title
Oosthuizen likely if Froch fight fails to materialize
By Dave Spencer
Photo Herby Whyne
While the ‘who’ hasn’t necessarily been decided, the ‘what’ is abundantly clear according to promoter Yvon Michel (GYM) as to what is next for hard hitting super-middleweight Adonis Stevenson. “The only thing I know, is that Adonis Stevenson’s next fight will be for the IBF title,” Michel told FightNews by telephone.
With everybody weighing in and positioning themselves in a Froch-Frenzy following the three-time champion’s blowout of Yusaf Mack over the weekend, Michel feels that Stevenson who won mandatory challenger position in his last fight with a victory over last Donovon George will one way or another be fighting for the red belt come spring time.
“It will be against Froch or whoever else if the title is vacant,” said Michel. “Hopefully it will be against Froch but we don’t control that. We know he has a rematch obligation with Lucian Bute. We know he will ask for an exemption but the IBF rules are clear that a mandatory will prevail over any rematch. I feel that even if he asks for an exemption, he’s not going to get it and Adonis will fight for the vacant title.”
Froch won the IBF belt in May against Bute in the Cobra’s hometown of Nottingham but the original contract called for a rematch in Montreal, a chip Bute and his Interbox promoters up until this point have seemed intent on cashing in with a proposed March date already circled on the calendar.
“We very much prefer to fight against Froch because he is the champion” said Michel. “I know Froch is a warrior and that he’s not scared of anybody. I’m sure he would have no problem in fighting Adonis Stevenson. He said in his post-fight comments that his next fight would be against Bute or Stevenson, and then they want to move on Kessler or Ward and move in that direction."
One of the criteria that would have an exemption granted according to Michel is that both parties sign off and have the winner agree to fight Stevenson, something the promoter feels is unlikely. “I know they would not do that. I don’t think there is any manner in which they would qualify for an exemption. I fully understand, I know this is business and it’s not personal. The rematch is a fight he has to do if Bute requests it. I don’t think the title is that important for a fight like that, but for Adonis, a title is a very important step in his next fight.”
If the Froch fight fails to materialize for Stevenson, Michel believes that a clash with South African Thomas Oosthuizen would be most likely for a vacant title. Edwin Rodriguez is ranked one spot ahead at #3 in the IBF but both fighters are promoted by Lou DiBella. “In conversations I had with Lou, I don’t think he has planned with Rodriguez to go in that direction. He is the promoter of both and I know that Oosthuizen would be very interested in a fight with Stevenson.”