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Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rey Vargas 126-lb unification fight approved by WBA

Image: Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rey Vargas 126-lb unification fight approved by WBA

By Huck Allen: The WBA has approved a mouth-watering unification fight between WBA 126-lb ‘Super’ champion Leo Santa Cruz and WBC belt-holder Rey Vargas to battle next.

The World Boxing Association approved the Santa Cruz vs. Vargas fight under the condition that the winner faces the winner of WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Leigh Wood vs. Mauricio Lara within 120 days. Those two are battling on September 24th in a 50-50 scrap in Nottingham, England.

Santa Cruz, 34, has chosen an arguably tougher fight against the unbeaten WBC 126-lb champion Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) than if he had taken the match against WBA ‘regular’ champion Wood.

There’s a lot to gain for the former four-division world champion Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KOs) in facing the 31-year-old Vargas, but it’s still going to be a tough match-up for Leo due to the height & reach, and boxing skills that the lanky 5’10” Rey possesses.

Vargas is coming off an excellent 12 round split decision win over Mark Magsayo last July in San Antonio, Texas. That was a dominating performance by Vargas, and he deserved a clear unanimous decision.

Santa Cruz recently beat returned from a long layoff to defeat little known Keenan Carbajal by a 10 round unanimous decision last February.

It was a good win for Santa Cruz, but it wasn’t against one of the talented contenders in the 126-lb division. Moreover, Santa Cruz was hit a lot by Carbajal, and it shouldn’t have been that way due to the wide gulf in talent between them.

The long layoff may have helped Santa Cruz recover from his sixth round knockout loss to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in 2020. Santa Cruz was knocked unconscious by Tank after getting nailed with a big shot that he never saw coming.

WBA approves Santa Cruz vs. Rey Vargas unification

“The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee approved the joint permit requested by Matchroom Boxing and TGB Promotions to allow featherweight super champion Leo Santa Cruz to face Rey Vargas in a unification fight and featherweight champion Leigh Wood to make a defense against Mauricio Lara.

“Both fights were approved with the condition that the super champion will face the champion to define the sole champion of the category within 120 days after the fight between Santa Cruz and Vargas.”

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