Rick Reeno reports that three-body junior bantamweight titlist Vic Darchinyan has decided to give up his IBF strap instead of defend against their chosen mandatory. The IBF was the body that allowed Darchinyan to move up to 118 pounds and challenge titlist Joseph Agbeko on July 11, a fight Darchinyan lost.
The mandatory the IBF selected was Simphiwe Nongqayi, a nameless sort but hardly the worst mandatory we've seen. There is talk that Nongqayi could face Jorge Arce for the vacant title. Arce lost to Darchinyan badly in February, but would have some story for a fight with Nongqayi, as his brother, Fernando, was beaten by Nongqayi in an eliminator.
This may or may not say something about what Darchinyan wants to do next. He's surely looking for a bigger fight than Nongqayi could have offered, and there are several options, but some are especially an intriguing. Darchinyan is a stubborn guy and an exceptionally proud fighter, so a rematch with Agbeko wouldn't be surprising. He may be looking to finally get revenge on Nonito Donaire, who is moving up to 115 in August. Or he may be looking at something entirely different right now.
Darchinyan (32-2-1, 26 KO) is 33 years old and probably wants to make as much money as he possibly can in what figure to be his final years in the sport, and you can't blame him for that. Plus, I kind of smile every time a star fighter vacates one of these worthless trinkets. Nongqayi will get his shot one way or another, but Darchinyan can make a better fight than that, and he and promoter Gary Shaw both know it. There was no reason to fight Nongqayi unless they wanted a simple rebound bout, and they could probably even find a more lucrative version of that somewhere else.