News from the World Boxing Association late last year that a massive UK super-bantamweight unification could go ahead at the expense of Guillermo Rigondeaux’s title belt was greeted with both delight and sadness in some quarters.
The fact that IBF title holder Carl Frampton and WBA champion Scott Quigg are finally set to share a ring on February 27 on Sky Sports Box Office is a huge plus for the division, although the WBA were forced to give Rigondeaux assurances that he would face the winner in exchange.
WBA President Gilberto Mendoza initially stipulated an unworkable date in May for an agreement between the winner of Frampton v Quigg and Rigondeaux, before re-evaluating to eventually relax the process until July.
All good for Rigondeaux should the victor sign on the dotted line to find out who is the top dog at 122 pounds, but where does that leave the International Boxing Federation’s number one Shingo Wake?
Wake was in line to meet Frampton if negotiations with Quigg fell through in 2015, so in theory, the Japanese southpaw should be the first up as the IBF’s mandatory action came before Rigondeaux was stripped of his WBA version.
In order to get a definitive answer of the matter, WBN asked IBF Chairman Lindsey Tucker for his take on the current situation – which seems to place the emphasis on Frampton or Quigg facing Wake and not Rigondeaux.
“The IBF approved Frampton vs. Quigg with the condition that the winner MUST fight Wake next,” Tucker exclusively told World Boxing News.
“On September 28, 2015, Frampton and Wake were ordered to negotiate the IBF Jr. Featherweight (super-bantamweight) Championship mandatory defense and we expect the winner to fight Wake next.”
That means if Frampton or Quigg chose the Wake defense they are highly likely to lose the WBA title, but if they go down the Rigondeaux route – which is considerably more dangerous, they would certainly forfeit the IBF belt.
As the fight is built as a big unification battle, it somewhat takes the shine off it for whoever has their hands raised unless the WBA can possibly agree to delay Rigo’s chance until later in the year and give the Cuban some kind of interim or regular title chance in the meantime.
Tyson Fury’s recent world heavyweight title farce springs to mind as a similar example of this as the 27 year-old was stripped of his title for not facing IBF mandatory Vyacheslav Glazkov immediately after beating Klitschko.
Even with Fury’s hands tied into a rematch, there was no leeway from the IBF, meaning Wake will fight for the IBF championship at some point in the late spring once the dust settles on the Frampton v Quigg grudge match.