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Home » WBO order puts Sebastian Fundora vs Tim Tszyu II in doubt

WBO order puts Sebastian Fundora vs Tim Tszyu II in doubt

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Sebastian Fundora will remain the WBO super welterweight champion, provided he doesn’t follow through on his promise to Tim Tszyu.

After defeating Tszyu for the WBC and WBO versions in a stunning result last month, Fundora became the number one target in the division. The WBO immediately informed Fundora that he must face mandatory challenger Terence Crawford within six months.

However, Fundora stated publicly that he would honor a verbal agreement with Tszyu for the rematch. This handshake with Tszyu is impossible to adhere to after Fundora and promoter Sampson Lewkowicz negotiated a medical reprieve with the World Boxing Organization.

The consensus initially thought that Fundora would be willing to give up the WBO version to battle Tszyu for the second time for his WBC title. The WBO’s latest ruling makes that highly unlikely. Due to injuries suffered in a bloody battle with Tszyu, Fundora cannot train until September. He, therefore, has asked the WBO to allow extra grace for recovery. The WBO will allow Fundora three months more, but only if he agrees to fight the winner of Terence Crawford vs Israil Madrimov.

The WBO confirmed this agreement in a recent resolution letter, which anyone can read in full on the WBO website. Based on the letter, Fundora has to fight Crawford or Madrimov by New Year’s Eve or lose his championship.

There wouldn’t be much point in Fundora going through this process if he had no intention of facing Crawford or Madrimov. This scenario leaves Tszyu seemingly out of the picture until at least 2025.

Fundora’s extension came with a stern warning from the WBO.

“A disability extension shall be approved only by the vote of the Championship Committee. If the Champion’s recovery time exceeds the maximum term of the disability extension, or if upon receipt of an interim medical certification, the Championship Committee determines that the Champion is not reasonably likely to recover and be prepared to defend his championship within the term of the disability extension, the title shall be declared vacant and a vacant or interim championship fight or fights such as a box off as the case may be shall be held for the title under the provisions of these regulations of world championships contests.

“Having Team Fundora satisfy the Committee’s order and having the Committee verify and accept the medical certification provided thereto. We believe that a disability extension shall be granted because the WBO Champion [Fundora] is expected to recover within a reasonable time.

“Therefore, based on the circumstances and particularities of this case, and in the best interests of boxing and the WBO’s Jr. Middleweight Division, an Interim Championship is warranted [for Crawford vs Madrimov] and justified. However, we must stress that under WBO policy, the sanction approval of interim championship bouts is only determined strictly under exceptional circumstances.

“Lastly, today’s ruling shall not be construed as a precedent but rather a case-by-case analysis considering all the relevant facts, circumstances, and particularities of this case.

“If Sebastian Fundora is unavailable for whatever reasons and circumstances to fight the WBO Interim Champion within the period stated herein [no later than December 31, 2024], the WBO Jr. Middleweight Championship shall be declared vacant “Ipso Facto” and the WBO Interim Champion [Crawford or Madrimov] be elevated to “Full Champion” status.”

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.