Following a substituted resolution that crowned Yordenis Ugas the full welterweight champion with victory over Manny Pacquiao, the WBA has begun cleaning up behind the Cuban.
The once “regular” but now “super” champion took the official name of title-holder with the WBA when defeating Pacquiao in Las Vegas last month. However, what was underneath Ugas was a trainwreck.
Interim, champions in recess, and gold champion status threatened to entirely put many people off the division.
Now, the WBA has moved to begin the process of seeing Ugas as the only recognized titlist.
They said: “The World Boxing Association (WBA) issued a resolution ordering a “Box-Off” in the welterweight division, to have a single champion.
“Yordenis Ugas will defend his title against Eimantas Stanionis. [Gold Champion] Jamal James will do the same against Radzhab Butaev in the first stage.
“The WBA’s title reduction plan has been a priority for the organization. It has been trying to move forward in many ways.
“This “Box-Off” is an excellent opportunity to settle the 147-pound situation with great bouts between the top-ranked fighters.
“Stanionis holds the top-ranking and therefore is the mandatory challenger for Ugas.
“Ugas is the WBA Super Champion who defeated Manny Pacquiao in his most recent fight on August 21.
“The bout must take place within 120 days from the issuance of the resolution on September 15.
“For his part, Butaev became mandatory to the title held by Jamal James after the fight against Alexander Besputin in November 2019.
“On that occasion, Besputin tested positive for banned substances in the A and B samples, so the bout was declared No Decision. Butaev was named mandatory to that belt.
“The fight between Jamal James and Butaev must take place before November of this year.
“The winners of both fights will face each other before March to determine the sole WBA welterweight champion.
“The resolution contemplates possible injuries or situations that may occur along the way, which could alter the deadlines which the WBA will resolve according to the WBA regulations.
INTERIM WELTERWEIGHT TITLE
“It is worth mentioning that the interim title was left vacant after the controversial fight between Gabriel Maestre and Mykal Fox.
“The WBA withdrew the belt and asked the Minnesota commission to declare the bout a No Decision.
“The world’s oldest body continues working on its title reduction plan at the request of the fans and the press.
“The WBA believes it is going in the right direction and is making every effort to fulfill the plan.”
A ‘box-off’ is the ideal scenario to secure the future of welterweight interest. The WBA could do the same in many more divisions.