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World Boxing Association backtracks on title reduction plan

World Boxing Association chiefs have come under fire for adding more championships at a time when they promised a reduction.

In 2021, the WBA canceled all interim titles and began eliminating the secondary ‘regular’ belts that caused so much controversy. By early 2024, only four weight classes remained with more than one champion.

The WBA’s progress from 2021 to 2024 saw World Boxing News reinstate the organization as a sanctioning body on the website. The WBA rejoined the WBC, IBF, and WBO after WBN declassified the outfit due to the frustrating situation with the titles. Somebody had to take a stand, and World Boxing News was the only boxing news website to do this.

However, with only a handful of divisions to complete, the WBA has taken a backward step. Unfathomably, they had added a new interim version to the super welterweight division in what looks to be an attempt to begin the process the previously eradicated. When Vergil Ortiz faces Tim Tszyu on August 3 in Los Angeles, the WBA wants them to contest the reinstated belt for no reason whatsoever. Instead of allowing Ortiz to become champion when Terence Crawford confirmed his future after fighting on the same bill, the WBA made a play for another sanctioning fee.

They stated: “Vergil Ortiz Jr. is the mandatory challenger of the category. For that reason, they will be allowed to dispute the interim belt against Australian Tim Tszyu.

“Additionally, Jermell Charlo was ratified as champion in recess. The American will have the right to face the winner of Madrimov vs. Crawford or Madrimov if that fight ends in a draw.

“The body formally informed all those involved in the situation, who are obliged to know the WBA rules. This resolution annuls all the previous ones, while any situation that may arise will be resolved by interpreting the rules.”

The WBA will allow Crawford to keep his title as he challenges Israil Madrimov for the 154-pound version. However, there’s still no reason to regurgitate a belt dumped three years ago to the delight of the sport.

“The official announcement of the bout between Israil Madrimov and Terence Crawford sees the World Boxing Association [WBA] Championships Committee issue a resolution on the special permission Crawford received to move up in class and the super welterweight situation.

“Crawford, who is the Super Welterweight Champion, will move up to the next division to challenge champion Madrimov on August 3 in Los Angeles. The American has requested permission to move up and keep the welterweight crown. The committee granted it, provided that if he beat Madrimov, he would have five days after the fight to decide which title he would keep.”

So, why does Ortiz need an interim title when he only has to wait five days until after the Crawford fight? The answer is known only to the WBA and can only be construed as for monetary reasons. Therefore, if the WBA begins going back down the old route and bringing in interim championships in more divisions, WBN will have no choice but to remove them from the champions list again until resolved.

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay. Learn more, read all articles from the experienced boxing writer, and follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.