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WBA seeking solution to vacant 140-lb title situation

Image: WBA seeking solution to vacant 140-lb title situation

By Sam Volz: The WBA will have a hearing this Tuesday, May 17th involving the top six contenders in their 140-lb rankings to allow the fighters to explain why they should fight for the vacant title. Each fighter will get 15 minutes to talk.

The hearing will involve these top six contenders:  Alberto Puello, Ismael Barroso, Ohara Davies, Sandor Martin, Regis Prograis, and Batyr Akhmedov.

Recently, the World Boxing Association stripped Josh Taylor of his WBA 140-lb title after he failed to begin talks for a title defense against his ordered mandatory Alberto Puello. Taylor is moving up in weight to the 147-lb division soon, but he could stick around for one more fight against Teofimo Lopez.

That’s a match-up that would create a lot of interest in the boxing world and give Taylor a chance to get a nice payday before moving up to welterweight to challenge for a world title.

There wouldn’t be much interest in a fight between Taylor and the little-known #1 WBA Alberto Puello (20-0, 10 KOs), who has yet to fight a recognizable name during his seven-year professional career.

“The World Boxing Association (WBA) called for a hearing with the representatives of the top six super lightweight ranked fighters with the intention of seeking the best solution to the vacancy of the world title of the category,” said Jesus Milano of the WBA website.

“Each team will have 15 minutes to present its case with no time extension. The panel will have 5 minutes after each presentation to ask questions and, after a time of deliberation on each case, will present its opinion to President Mendoza, who will have the final decision.”

WBA top six contenders

1. Alberto Puello
2. Ismael Barroso
3. Ohara Davies
4. Sandor Martin
5. Regis Prograis
6. Batyr Akhmedov

In looking at that list, the two prominent names that stick out to you are Sandor Martin and Regis Prograis. Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) defeated former four-division world champion Mikey Garcia by a 10-round majority decision last October in a fight shown on DAZN.

To be sure, Mikey is no longer an active fighter and was fighting out of his natural weight class in taking on Martin at welterweight; the performance by the Spaniard fighter was impressive.

Yeah, you can argue that Mikey would have lost to all six of the WBA’s top contenders that night, but it was Martin that beat him. For that reason, he deserves to be one of the candidates that fight for the vacant WBA 140-lb title.

Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) is the other top fighter on the WBA’s top six list that much be given a strong look. He’s easily the most talented of the bunch and came close to defeating Josh Taylor in their fight in 2019, losing a 12-round majority decision in London, England.

If Prograis had adapted earlier in the fight by choosing to box from the outside, he would have beaten Taylor because he was the far better fighter in terms of speed & pinpoint accuracy.

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