This past weekend in Uzbekistan we saw unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) [Муроджон Ахмадалиев] retain his IBF and WBA "Super" Super Bantamweight titles as he stopped Japanese challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (27-4, 17) [岩佐 亮佑], who came in to the bout as the IBF mandatory challenger.
Yesterday the WBA announced that it's now time for one of their fighters to have a show, as they announced Akhmadaliev now had a mandatory due against Ronny Rios (33-3, 16).
The WBA have communicated with both teams, telling them they have 30 days, from April 6th, to negotiate a deal. That time frame will run up on May 6th and if both parties can't reach a deal there will be a purse bid.
At the time of writing Rios is the WBA "Gold" champion at Super Bantamweight. The WBA also have "World Champion", Brandon Figueroa, and an "interim champion", Raeese Aleem, as well as Akhmadaliev, the "Super" champion. Sadly it appears the WBA want to hand out more and more belts, and want to do so in a way that continues to devalue their standing in the sport. Thankfully however a bout between Akhmadaliev and Rios would genuinely be a good one, and we're hoping it goes ahead, as has been ordered.
Yesterday the WBA announced that Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39) was no longer the WBA "super" champion at Welterweight. Instead they have made it clear they will recognise him as the WBA "champion in recess", a status typically given to a fighter who is injured or otherwise unable to fight.
As a result of this decision Yordenis Ugas (26-4, 12) has been promoted from the "regular" champion to the "super" champion.
Pacquiao became the "super" champion in July 2019, when he beat Keith Thurman. He has, sadly, been inactive since then, leading to the WBA's decision.
Thankfully if you're reading this you're probably a boxing fan, but if you feel like giving yourself a headache try explaining that to a non-boxing fan.
Sadly though this does leave the WBA in a position where they appear to lack inconsistency. For example WBA Featherweight "super" champion Leo Santa Cruz hasn't defended his title since February 2019 and WBA regular Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales last defended his belt in May 2019*.
It's rare we'll agree with the WBA, and the decision to determine Pacquiao as the champion in recess is actually the right idea. But then again Pacquiao is one of the few fighters in the sport who doesn't need a belt. And lets not ignore the fact that the decision was almost certainly made just so the WBA can collect another sanctioning fee in early 2021, and have a Champion in Recess, Super champion, Regularly Champions and Gold champion. Further muddying in the water in what it means to be a world champion.
*Canizales had a title defense that fell apart at short notice in 2020
Yesterday the WBA announced that they had stripped WBA "regular" Cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov (18-2, 12) [Бейбут Амирханович Шуменов], a decision that was very much over-due, and seems to have been a token move by the WBA to try and clear a situation that they have caused. Not only is it over due, but it is a horribly over0due decision, that should have been done at least a year ago, if not 2 years ago!
The Kazakh won the title in July 2018, when he stopped Hizni Altunkaya. The same year he was ordered to fight Arsen Goulamiriam, in a bout that never happened, despite purse bids taking place in 2019, won by Don King. Shumenov was prevented from fighting due to an issue with his sight. Rather than stripping Shumenov the WBA made him champion in recess and we saw Goulamiriam win the vacant regular title.
Whilst that was going on the WBA also had a "Super" champion, Murat Gassiev.
The eye was rumoured to be career ending, back in 2018, though the WBA showed incredible patience and allowed Shumenov to sit on the title, whilst they allowed Goulamiriam and Gassiev to defend their titles.
In 2020 Shumenov's team revealed he was ready to return to the ring and the WBA ordered a purse bid for a bout between Shumenov and Ryad Merhy. This bout was ordered, before Shumenov's team asked for permission for their man to defend the title against the hapless Raphael Murphy. A man who shouldn't be near the world rankings, never mind being allowed to step in front of a mandatory challenger!
The bout between Shumenov and Murphy was set to take place on January 29th, before Shumenov pulled out of the bout. Finally making the WBA take the decision they should have taken years ago.
We don't want to bash the WBA for doing the right thing and stripping Shumenov, but to take in excess of 2 years to make the decision, after Shumenov and his team jumped through hoops, asked for special permission and various other things really does sum up the WBA. Absolutely pathetic.
Yeah, they have got it right. At least. But that's not an excuse for their inaction, and seemingly being happy to bend over backwards for the WBA and for Don King.
The WBA have now got a chance to sort out their mess. But sadly they have also dropped the ball there. Rather than heading towards a single champion the WBA have now ordered Ryad Merhy, who has been promoted from the interim champion to the regular to champion, to take on Yuniel Dorticos. This is another bad decision, and completely ignored the fact they have a Super Champion, Arsen Goulamirian, who has been out of the ring for over a year and should have been involved in any bout the WBA ordered for the title.
Earlier today the WBA announced that Japanese Middleweight Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] had been upgraded from their "Regular" champion to their "Super" champion, following the announcement that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez had officially left the division.
Whilst this is big news in some ways, with Murata now holding the primary title with the WBA meaning that there is no question about him being the WBA's main champion, in reality it serves little purpose than to delay his mandatory obligations.
As a WBA "regular" champion he was supposed to defend the belt in a mandatory defense every 9 months, though of course 2020 was no normal year and mandatory obligations were paused for much of the year. As the "Super" champion however that 9 months gets extend to 19 months between defenses.
In reality the bigger difference isn't really felt by Murata but by us, the boxing fans, who will now have to remember that the WBA will be creating a new title in the near future, after likely upgrading Chris Eubank Jr to the Regular champion.
Given how the WBA likes to work it really could be a rather random fight to see a new "interim" champion being crowned later this year, and sadly that could take one of the more notable contenders out of the mix for the big fights as they get ahold of, and defend, the rather pointless interim title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
At the start of November we were expecting to see WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] defending his title against unbeaten challenger Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12), from Thailand. Sadly that bout was cancelled following the weigh in, when Kyoguchi tested positive for Covid19 after a PCR test.
The hope was then for the bout to be re-arranged before the end of the year, with Simsri remaining in Japan until late December, with his Visa set to expire on December 31st.
Until today however it seemed unclear if the bout was going to actually be rescheduled before the end of the year, or whether Simsri's 2 weeks in isolation, from when he arrived in Japan in October, were going to be for nought.
And then we stumbled on this on the WBA website:
Although there has been no official announcement in Japan it now seems that the bout is set to take place in Japan on December 26th, boxing day for our UK readers, with the WBA themselves having the bout on their schedule.
If this is going to be the case, and it very likely will be, then it will have to see things move very quickly, with an announcement likely next week, and details regarding the when, where and what it'll be shown on.
Originally the bout was set to take place on Kyoguchi's own YouTube channel at the INTEX in Osaka.
In regards to streaming we wouldn't be surprised if the plan was still for Kyoguchi's YouTube channel to stream the bout. In regards to venue it is worth noting that there is set to be two other noteworthy shows on December 26th in Japan, one in Aichi and in in Tokyo, and the INTEX Osaka list no scheduled events between December 17th and January 17th
Sadly the WBA schedule doesn't help in regards to location other than stating a rather obvious "Japan". The bout is also not listed by Watanabe gym, who list the only bout on December 26th featuring one of their fighters as between current OPBF champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] and former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪], with Mishiro being a Watanabe Gym fighter.
Although there is obvious questions about the date and venue it would seem very strange for the WBA to list the bout and give it a date, if the bout hasn't now been set and agreed. With that in mind we are expecting an announcement very soon to confirm the bout.
Strangely this announcement may be the reason why news regarding another bout has gone oddly quiet in recent days and it could be that this card in Osaka is set become a rather big event as a post-Christmas celebration of boxing in Japan. Of course we now need to wait and see.
Note - The INTEX Osaka had scheduled events from December 18th to December 20th but they have now been cancelled.
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