In addition to ordering former super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez to face serial domestic abuser Marcus Browne for their interim light heavyweight title, the WBC decreed that flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez and women’s featherweight champion Jelena Mrdjenovich face mandatory challenger McWilliams Arroyo and interim champion Amanda Serrano, respectively.
All parties have until February 5th to negotiate.
Martinez (17-1, 13 KO) vs. Arroyo (20-4, 15 KO) was supposed to happen this past August, but “El Rey” withdrew due to a throat infection. Martinez ended up stopping late replacement Moises Calleros in October and attempted a two-month turnaround against #2 Francisco Rodriguez Jr., only to suffer a “non-COVID related illness.” Arroyo, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since 2019 and is 4-1 in his last five, including a loss to Kazuto Ioka and an upset majority decision over Carlos Cuadras.
It’s not the unification we wanted, but Arroyo’s tough as nails and always game, so we can’t complain too much.
Mrdjenovich (41-10-2, 19 KO) has held the WBC and WBA women’s featherweight titles since 2016 and has just one loss in the last eight years, which she immediately avenged. The 38-year-old Canadian ended a 15-month layoff in December with an impressive decision over Iranda Paola Torres on Ring City USA.
Serrano (39-1-1, 29 KO) added both the WBC interim and WBO titles to her massive collection with a one-sided decision over Heather Hardy in 2019. This was supposed to set up a blockbuster clash with Katie Taylor, but that fell apart rather spectacularly, leaving Serrano to score a 99-second stay-busy knockout last month.
If these two meet, that would just leave IBF champion Sarah Mahfoud standing between the winner and undisputed featherweight supremacy.