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WBA orders Ra’eese Aleem vs Azat Hovhannisyan final eliminator

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Aleem is presently scheduled to face Eduardo Baez on November 27th

Gilberto Ramirez v Sullivan Barrera Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Murodjon Akhmadaliev will have something scary waiting for him if he gets past Ronny Rios. The WBA has given Ra’eese Aleem and former title challenger Azat Hovhannisyan until November 5th to come to terms for a super bantamweight final eliminator and avoid a purse bid.

While fighters usually get 30 days to negotiate, the WBA explains that they first ordered the bout on August 27th, only to be informed that Aleem (18-0, 12 KO) had a scheduled fight with Eduardo Baez on Showtime’s September 18th Fulton-Figueroa card. They “considered” letting that fight proceed, but when Figueroa got COVID and delayed the card until November 27th, they ruled to proceed with the order. If Aleem elects to go through with the Baez fight, “his recognition will be revoked and Hovannis[y]an will be certified as the mandatory challenger for the division.”

The 33-year-old “Crazy A” (20-3, 16 KO) is 6-0 with five knockouts since unsuccessfully challenging Rey Vargas for the WBC title in 2018. He’s unquestionably one of the best in the division, and if Aleem wants to take the quickest route to a title shot, it’ll have to be through Hovhannisyan; “The Beast” is ranked 11th by the WBC and unranked by the IBF and WBO.

A lot can happen in two weeks, so let’s see how this plays out.