It’s up to Stanionis whether he wants to fight Spence or agree to step down

It’s up to Stanionis whether he wants to fight Spence or agree to step down
It’s up to Stanionis whether he wants to fight Spence or agree to step down

Welterweight contender Eimantas Stanionis will soon have to decide his career path for himself in early 2023, says his promoter Richard Schaefer.

Stanionis currently holds the WBA “World” 147-pound title, a lesser version of the one currently held by Errol Spence Jr., who also has the IBF and WBC titles to his name. Stanionis recently pressed the sanctioning body to impose his status as a mandatory challenger to Spence’s title immediately after it was revealed last month that talks for an undisputed welterweight championship between Spence and the WBO title slate Terence Crawford failed. Sanctioning bodies usually allow unification bouts to take precedence over mandatory defenses.

Stanionis, Lithuanian Olympian in 2016, has already retired once. He did so earlier this year, then allowing WBA “super” champion Yordenis Ugas to take on Spence in a three-belt 147-pound unification. Spence ended up stopping Ugas in the 10th round of their 12-round fight on April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Schaefer, the head of Probellum, recently explained that he will play a limited role in what his Lithuanian boss ends up doing.

“If the fighter is going to say, no, I’m not going to retire, I want to fight next, then that’s the position we will legally enforce against the sanctioning organizations involved,” Schaefer told Tha Boxing Voice. “But if the fighter, in this particular case Stanionis, said, ‘Look, what would the side step be, what’s the problem, who would I be fighting, when would I be fighting? And if something can be solved, it’s ultimately not up to me, it’s up to the fighter.

“My job is… to move my fighters into those positions. Once they are in these positions, it will be up to them to decide if they want to fight, if they want to wait, if they want to retire. It depends on the fighter, not on me.

After the Spence-Crawford talks broke down, Stanionis made it clear on his social media that he had no plans to step down and suggested that Spence should either fight him or vacate the WBA “Super” belt. “I have first right to fight Spence,” Stanionis wrote. “If he doesn’t fight or lose the WBA Super Champion title, there will be no WBA Super Duper Champion and only the one I have will remain.”

However, Spence is expected to face former titlist Keith Thurman early next year. (Crawford, on the other hand, is set to face David Avanesyan on Dec. 10 in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska). Schaefer said Spence would have to get Stanionis’ approval first before he could move forward with a Thurman fight. Stanionis fought under early boxing champions Al Haymon for most of his professional career. Spence and Thurman are also longtime PBC fighters.

“Spence’s (Haymon) team definitely needs to communicate with us what they want to do,” Schaefer said. “They can’t just go and advertise a Thurman fight. They can’t, because we’ve written checks and letters that Eimantas Staninois is next, so they can’t just ignore him. In fact, if they didn’t — which I know they won’t because they’re respectful people — it would be very disrespectful to Eimantas Stanionis.

“We have to see,” Schaefer continued. “It all has to play out… Is he (Spence) going to fight Thurman? I do not know. Will he go up (to 154)? I do not know. Or will he do what he really should and fight Eimantas Stanionis who has been the proxy for over a year, patiently waiting, and on top of that did the right thing for Spence by allowing him to fight Ugas .

“So will Spence return this favor that Eimantas did or will he just step over Eimantas? And if he does, it will be in Eimantas, does he want to fight him or will he retire. It’s not up to me.

. Richard Schaefer Thats Stanionis decide sil wants fight Spence accept withdraw

. Stanionis fight Spence agree step

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