Cuban standout Rances Barthelemy, who defended his IBF lightweight title on Saturday with a decision over Mickey Bey, has elected to vacate the title, leaving mandatory challenger Richard Commey to take on rising contender Robert Easter Jr. as per the sanctioning body's orders.
Barthelemy's team have not given any reason for this act, which looks rather blatantly like a duck. Commey (24-0, 22 KO) has a fairly empty record overall, which makes this even stranger. The Ghanaian has knocked out his last five opponents, sure, but the best of the lot was Bahodir Mamadjonov and his two most recent foes didn't even crack BoxRec's top 300 for the division.
Easter (17-0, 14 KO), meanwhile, scored a career-best win his last time out with a fifth-round knockout of Algenis Mendez on the undercard of Adrien Broner vs. Ashley Theophane. He should be the favorite going in.
The fighters have until July 6th to come to an agreement, otherwise a purse bid will take place.