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IBF orders Jermell Charlo to face mandatory challenger Bakhram Murtazaliev

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Murtazaliev beat Jorge Fortea in a November 2019 final eliminator

Jermell Charlo v Brian Castano Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images

As much as the boxing world would like to see Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano immediately run back last Saturday’s terrific battle in San Antonio, we may have to wait a bit. Jake Donovan reports that the IBF has ordered Charlo to face mandatory challenger Bakhram Murtazaliev, who already stepped aside for Charlo’s bouts with Castano and Jeison Rosario.

The Grozny-born, Oxnard-based Murtazaliev (19-0, 14 KO) soundly defeated Jorge Fortea in a November 2019 eliminator to earn a spot atop the sanctioning body’s 154-pound rankings. He’s since stayed busy with a fourth-round finish of Manny Woods and a unanimous decision over Khiary Gray, the latter of which took place on that same Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KO) vs. Castano card, while the belt changed hands from Julian Williams to Rosario to Charlo.

It’s unfortunate, but you can’t really blame the IBF or Murtazaliev’s team for pushing the issue after so many delays. Odds are that he’ll once again get a hefty payment and a guaranteed crack at all four belts once Charlo and Castano hopefully get a definitive outcome.

If he doesn’t, WBO top contender Tim Tszyu hasn’t been shy about his desire to fight Castano for the belt, so the Argentinean won’t be hurting for a dance partner.