On March 19th we reported that WBO president Paco Valcárcel stated the upcoming Bantamweight clash between their champion Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19) and WBA "regular" champion Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12) would not be recognised as a unification bout. Since then Valcárcel has stated the same thing a number of times when questioned on twitter.
Late last night the WBO made the announcement in a big way with a full explanation made on their website in what was posted an open letter to Kameda. The letter, which can be read here, goes into great detail on their stance regarding on championship bouts, non-title bouts and other things within their rules. Effectively their rules seem to indicate that a champion can only defend against a WBO ranked contender, something McDonnell isn't, fight in a non-title bout with the WBO's permission, something that appears not to have been sought, or unify with the man the WBO regard as the champion of another organisation.
It's that last point which is the sticky one. The WBO do not recognise the WBA's secondary champion as champion. That means that "Regular" champions aren't recognised as champion if a division has a "Super Champion" and that "interim" champions aren't recognised if their is either a "Super" or "Regular" champion. And if Tomoki goes ahead with the bout the championship committee will essentially be forced to strip Tomoki of his title, win or lose.
For the most part the WBO don't even rank the secondary title holder. The likes of Daniel Jacobs at Middleweight, Keith Thurman at Welterweight, Scott Quigg at Super Bantamweight, Juan Carlos Reveco at Flyweight, or Randy Petalcorin at Light Flyweight. That however isn't a hard and fast rule as they do rank WBA interim Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart. The ranking of Knockout appears to show that the WBO is open to ranking secondary champions, even if it's not a regular thing.
Our view, for what it's worth, is that the WBA have made a mockery of world titles but having 2, if not 3, in most divisions. The sport is already difficult enough to follow without having "Super", "Regular", "Interim", "Unified", "Undisputed" and "in Recess" champions. It would make more sense for the WBA to make their champions unify internally before creating any more titles. After all the WBA was part of a summit with the WBC and IBF to move towards a single champion, a summit that the WBO didn't attend.
We do however know some fans are describing the WBO's move as a political statement and bitterness following the fact they declined to attend the invite.
Whether it's the right move or not by the WBO is yet to be seen. It's fair to say the winner of the Kameda Vs McDonnell will be seen as a top fighter in the division, probably #2 behind WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka but it's also clear that the WBO aren't backing down on their stance here. It seems amazing that the teams behind Kameda and McDonnell wouldn't have had this issue sorted out before announcing the bout and it's also amazing that it's actually taken one of the sanctioning bodies to try and stop the proliferation of WBA "world" champions that the fans have complained about.
From our point of view it would be nice for one champion per division and although this bout won't move us a step closer to that it does look like this bout could be the first step towards getting rid of the WBA's multiple belts. That has to be a good thing.
If Tomoki is stripped it would likely mean WBO #1 ranked fighter Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) would be getting a shot at the vacant title, possibly against the #2 ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu (49-3, 33), not the most exciting of bouts considering what Tomoki did to Punluang,
Tomoki Kameda Vs Jamie McDonnell hits a snag with the WBO
Tomoki Kameda Vs Jamie McDonnell announced for May 9th, more confusion over bouts status
Paco Vacárcel restates the WBO's stance on the Kameda Vs McDonnell fight
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