As Wil shared earlier today, the WBA officially stripped Josh Taylor of his super lightweight title over the weekend after Taylor’s refusal to accept a fight with mandatory challenger Alberto Puello. The normal thing to do would be to order a vacant title fight between #1 Puello and #2 Ismael Barroso. The WBA being who they are, though, they’ve instead scheduled a Tuesday hearing with their top-six fighters to determine the matchup.
The pioneer organization, through its president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, called the hearing for this Tuesday, May 17 via online at 11:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern time.
The teams summoned are the representatives of Alberto Puello, Ismael Barroso, Ohara Davies, Sandor Martín, Regis Prograis and Batyr Akhmedov.
The hearing will be attended by WBA Chief of Staff Gary Shaw and a panel composed of Anthony Cardinale and Seymour Zivick.
Each team will have 15 minutes to present its case with no time extension. The panel will have 5 minutes after each presentation to ask questions and after a time of deliberation on each case, will present its opinion to President Mendoza, who will have the final decision.
Beyond the inherent idiocy of holding a middle school student council election, Jake Donovan points out that Puello’s been owed this fight for ages. He first won the interim title almost three years ago, and per the WBA’s title reduction program, he automatically become mandatory challenger upon his belt being vacated. Whether or not you think he’s earned a title shot through his in-ring efforts, the fact is that he’s next in line.
As for the others, Martin, Prograis, and Akhmedov are the most appealing options. Barroso technically shouldn’t still be ranked, as he’s been out of action for over a year, but the WBA is insanely lenient on that front for fighters they like.
Whatever the case, we’ll likely know tomorrow.