The decision made by Eimantas Stanionis to step aside from an owed title shot allowed a three-belt unification fight to take place this weekend.

A similar decision will allow for a fight that would crown the first-ever undisputed male welterweight champion in the four-belt era.

Lithuania’s Stanionis (14-0, 9KOs; 1ND) collected a consolation prize in exchange for passing on a career-best opportunity, outworking Radzhab Butaev (14-1, 10KOs; 1NC) to win the WBA ‘World’ welterweight title. The fight was on the undercard of a main event which saw Errol Spence add the WBA “Super” welterweight belt to his WBC/IBF collection following a tenth-round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas this past Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Ugas (27-5, 12KOs) was originally ordered to next face Stanionis as his mandatory challenger.

An agreement was reached which allowed Ugas to face Spence in their WBA/WBC/IBF unification bout, while Stanionis was compensated along with receiving a spot on the undercard. The expectation heading into the bout—at least on the part of Stanionis and Butaev—was that the winners of Stanionis-Butaev and Spence-Ugas would meet next. Public demand has instead called for an undisputed championship and pound-for-pound showdown between Spence (28-0, 22KOs) and WBO titlist Terence Crawford (38-0, 29KOs), which leaves Stanionis with another hard choice to make.

“It’s up to my team. I am very flexible and just want to fight the best,” Stanionis told during a recent Zoom conference call conducted by the WBA to celebrate and discuss his latest win. “I never say no to any challenge. It’s up to my team and I will be ready for anything.”

Stanionis is promoted by Richard Schaefer and managed by Shelly Finkel, though he has largely fought on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) platforms since turning pro in April 2017, shortly after representing Lithuania in the 2016 Rio Olympics. All but one career fight has taken place under such a setting, including his win over Butaev which topped a Showtime free-view telecast preceding the Spence-Ugas Showtime PPV event.

The April 16 show was put together once Stanionis agreed to stand down from his due title shot versus Ugas, as previously ordered by the WBA through its four-man welterweight box-off tournament. Butaev fought and defeated Jamal James to win the secondary WBA welterweight belt last October, while Stanionis and Ugas spent most of the last four months of 2021 negotiating terms for their ordered fight.

Stanionis eventually gave in and allowed the unification bout to take place, with the understanding of receiving a shot at the winner. The 27-year-old welterweight is open to being a team player, although it will likely require considerable compensation for what others would view as doing the right thing—even at the expense of once again delaying his own goals.

“My dream is still to fight for all of the belts and become undisputed champion,” notes Stanionis. “I know that I am young in this game but I like challenges. I can hang with the best.”

Negotiations have not yet begun for Spence-Crawford, though a clearer path exists with Crawford now a promotional free agent. Spence-Stanionis was not yet ordered by the WBA, nor were such plans discussed to do so during Monday’s victory lap press conference.

Stanionis is expected to receive his secondary belt in the mail on Tuesday. The WBA is also planning an in-person presentation later this spring in Stanionis’ Lithuania homeland.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox