The WBA enjoyed a busy weekend, as Jorge Linares and Tyron Zeuge retained their titles in starkly different fashions. They were already looking to the future, however, as the sanctioning body last week ordered Kiryl Relikh to face Rances Barthelemy in a super lightweight eliminator. In addition, they once again demanded a purse bid for the oft-delayed super bantamweight title match between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Moises Flores.
Relikh (21-1, 19 KO) warred with Ricky Burns in October, losing a hotly disputed decision in the latter’s native Glasgow. Despite the setback, he jumped a good 150 or so spots on BoxRec and he gets a crack at another elite opponent in “Kid Blast.”
Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KO) is in pursuit of a third world title in a third weight class. Once the IBF super featherweight champ, he defeated Denis Shafikov for the lightweight title two Decembers ago and took a split decision over Mickey Bey in his first defense last June. At 5’11”, he’s certainly got the frame to compete at 140, and a puncher like Relikh should show us how well he can take shots from bigger men.
The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for either Ricky Burns or “Julius Indigno.” Seriously.
Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO) and Flores (25-0, 17 KO) were supposed to fight on the Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland pay-per-view before Kirkland broke his nose. Rigondeaux has been the WBA “Super” champion since besting Nonito Donaire in 2013, while Flores defeated Oscar Escandon for the interim belt in 2015.