Internet rumours are in full swing on Tuesday on the back of Ruslan Chagaev being stripped of the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title due to a failed mandatory defense against Fres Oquendo.
The World Boxing Association released a statement confirming Chagaev’s position, leaving Oquendo as the sole fighter on the right hand side of the WBA top division tournament draw.
President Gilberto Mendoza has stated his intention to have only ONE title holder in the division going forward and has five fighters left to battle it out due to the exclusion of Chagaev this week.
Current champion Tyson Fury is set to rematch Wladimir Klitschko in October, whilst interim belt holder Luis Ortiz is likely to meet Alexander Ustinov on September 17 for the number one mandatory spot.
Fury or Klitschko will then battle Ortiz or Ustinov, probably in the first six months of 2017, before the eventual champion will make a final stipulated defense of the belt against Oquendo later that year.
Lucas Browne, who has recently stripped of his ‘regular’ title for a positive drugs test, has now been linked to a potential vacant title fight with another former owner of the strap in David Haye, although how either would be placed above Oquendo in the pecking order would be a strange one to fathom.
As it stands, any encounter between Browne and Haye would be unlikely to be sanctioned for a title by Mendoza, who would end of with considerable egg on his face should he completely reverse his tournament stance.
Haye was due to face Shannon Briggs this September as previously arranged prior to his latest win over Arnold Gjergjaj, although time is running out for that fight and it’s possible ‘The Hayemaker’ is looking at other options.
Browne would certainly be a better option for Haye, on paper, whilst whoever comes out on top could well be in a position to persuade Oquendo to put his place in the competition on the line next year.
Furthermore, Browne v Oquendo looks the more likely affair – potentially with the WBA ‘regular’ belt on the line, but with the added stipulation that the champion follows through with the tournament to eventually and rightly crown just one champion.
Oquendo’s readiness for participation due to injury would be the only other way Browne v Haye gets the green light from the WBA.