Stanionis Wants Crawford to ‘Release the Belts’ as He Searches for New Date

Eimantas Stanionis has not fought competitively in almost two years. 

Stanionis, a Lithuanian welterweight, defeated Radzhab Butaev in a WBA regular title fight on the undercard of the Errol Spence Jr.Yordenis Ugas 147-pound unification bout in April 2022. 

A former European gold medalist, Stanionis made his mark in one of boxing’s premier weight classes before an intriguing matchup with fellow undefeated world title hopeful Vergil Ortiz Jr. was made. But three separate cancellations of that bout have seen Stanionis’ fledgling career grind to a halt.

“I’ve had five or six dates fall out after Ortiz,” Stanionis recently told Boxing Scene. “Every time I get a date, it changes and changes again. I have no official news of a new date yet, but I’m hoping to get some news later this week.

“Of course I am a little bit down because of the pressure and the stress. I’m always training, you know. Then they will say I’m fighting next month, it turns into the next month. I have signed the contracts they have sent in a minute; it was a different opponent every time I signed. I’ve just been hoping to get back in the ring, but unfortunately I’m not in a good position.”

Ortiz was hospitalized during the week leading up to the most recent attempt to match with Stanionis. Ortiz eventually made his return to action at the start of the year in a first-round stoppage of Fredrick Lawson, with Ortiz weighing in two full pounds over the super welterweight limit, at 156 pounds.

“It was a crazy week in Texas,” Stanionis said of the latest Ortiz cancellation. “As soon as we arrived at the airport, we were meant to go and do a faceoff to promote the fight. But we were told he couldn’t do it. We thought he needed the time to make weight or something. At that point, I thought something was happening, but I didn’t think the fight would get canceled. It all took so long, but I’m over it.”

Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs) is currently fighting under PBC, which is experiencing a reshuffle due to a change in its broadcaster.

“I don’t know why the other fights have not happened,” Stanionis said. “Obviously their deal ended with Showtime – now they are with Amazon Prime – they couldn’t secure my date. I don’t know what’s going on. There is a lot of change at the moment. My manager told me this and that, but he hasn’t been able to get me a fight during this time.

“I’m very frustrated. They told me September, then October, then November, December. … Then March and then May, maybe. I don’t even know when I am fighting. I’m just training. This is why I’m telling you that I’m always stressed, because I’m not living a normal life and I have no fight and don’t know what my future holds. I would go to 140 for a big fight, but it would have to make sense.”

Stanionis, who says he has no official contract with a promoter and admits that being from a small country can make matchmaking difficult, has one fight left with PBC. But he’s ready to lock in his next steps.

“They asked me who I want to fight. I said, ‘I’ll fight anybody, I don’t care,’” Staniosis said. “I need a fight. There is a date, I’m hopeful of that. I hope to be announced in the next week, but I’ve basically signed to fight anybody.”

Until recently, the welterweight division was fully occupied by Terence Crawford following his knockout win over Spence last June. However, uncertainty is growing about where the division’s four belts may ultimately land.

“A lot of fighters are frozen,” Stanionis said. “We don’t know what Crawford’s position is. He should say if he is fighting or not fighting. Release the belts and everybody can excel and fight for the titles. If he does stick around at 147, then it is a different story. I don’t know his plans. He wanted the Canelo fight, but it is not going to happen. Of course he deserves it, though. He should get good paydays. He did everything in boxing.”

The IBF has relieved Crawford of its title, ending his reign as undisputed champion and elevating Jaron Ennis to champion. Crawford still holds the WBA, WBC and WBO belts as the next generation waits for its chance to grab a piece of the welterweight division. 

“There is myself and obviously Ennis,” Stanionis said. “You also have Conor Benn, who is coming through and is a big name. I would love to fight all of those guys. It is not a very deep division right now. One-fifty-four is actually pretty deep now because a lot of fighters have been moving up

“You do have guys at 140 that want to move up; I saw that Devin Haney wants to move to 147. I would love to welcome Haney to 147. All these big fights – I would love to fight all of them. Mario Barrios is another great fight. A lot could happen.”

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