Unified super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo already has two mandatory challengers waiting in the wings: Erickson Lubin for the WBC and Bakhram Murtazaliev for the IBF. The WBA is working on giving him a third, as Dan Rafael reports that the sanctioning body has scheduled a September 20th purse bid for a final eliminator between #1 Michel Soro and #2 Israil Madrimov.
France’s Soro (35-2, 24 KO) achieved mandatory status in 2018 with a two-round wipeout of Greg Vendetti, setting up a rematch with the last man to beat him: Brian Castano, who’d just defended his “world” title by drawing with Erislandy Lara. After Soro’s team won the purse bid, Castano elected to vacate the title, claiming promoter Univent failed to put Castano’s purse in escrow or sign off on VADA testing.
Soro instead signed on to face Magomed Kurbanov, who wound up withdrawing the day before fight night, and instead stayed busy with a pair of knockouts over Anderson Prestot and Cedric Vitu. He hasn’t fought since November 2019.
Uzbekistan’s Madrimov (7-0, 5 KO) got fast-tracked to the big time and certainly looked the part early in his career, though he’s coming off a couple of shaky performances. He went the distance for the first time against Eric Walker despite seemingly knocking him cold in the 12th, then saw the judges again in April in a bout with unheralded Ghanian Emmany Kalombo.
I like this matchup; Soro’s only loss since 2012 was a split decision against the aforementioned Castano and the 26-year-old Madrimov needs a fight like this to graduate to true contender status. Let’s just hope Matchroom wins the bid to head off any further Univent shenanigans.