By Sean Jones: WBA secondary welterweight champion Eimantas Stanionis reportedly had an emergency appendectomy, resulting in his March 18th title defense against Vergil Ortiz Jr being postponed until possibly April, if not later.
Dan Rafael is reporting the news of Stanionis’ medical emergency last Friday. There’s no word yet on what Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) will do if Stanionis needs more time beyond April to return from his appendectomy surgery.
Rafael didn’t reveal what caused the injury problem. Was Stanionis punched in the throat during sparring, or did it happen on its own?
One appealing option would be for the Golden Boy promoted 24-year-old Vergil Jr to face Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis because he’s likely to be free, particularly if he obliterates his opponent Karen Chukhadzhian within three rounds tonight on Showtime PPV on the Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis vs. Hector Luis Garcia card in Washington, D.C.
Despite all the hype, Ortiz Jr still hasn’t fought a high-caliber fighter during his seven-year professional career, and this would be an excellent opportunity for him to prove that he’s not just a product of soft match-making by his clever promoters at Golden Boy, who have worked wonders with Ryan Garcia’s career, getting him a huge money fight against Tank Davis without ever fighting even a B-level opponent.
BREAKING: I just spoke to manager Shelly Finkel, who told me Eimantas Stanionis had an emergency appendectomy on Friday, forcing his WBA “regular” welterweight title defense March 18 vs. Vergil Ortiz to be postponed. They hope to reschedule in April. #boxing
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) January 7, 2023
The winner of the Stanionis vs. Ortiz Jr is supposed to be fighting champion Errol Spence Jr, but it’s questionable whether that’ll happen. Spence may vacate and head North to the 154 lb division to go after the belts in that empty-of-talent division.
This would be a good time for the World Boxing Association to downgrade the injured Stanionis to ‘Champion in Recess’ and put the WBA belt up for grabs in a fight between Ortiz Jr and Boots Ennis, so the title stays in circulation.
Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is ranked #3 WBA, making him an ideal option for Ortiz Jr to fight for the belt. However, it’s unknown at this point if the inactive Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) is fighting IBF, WBA & WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr next. If not, Thurman would be a great option.
With Thurman, you never know if he’s injured again or grossly overweight and too fat to trim off all the tonnage by March for a fight with Ortiz.