Newly crowned undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo has a problem.
Two weeks ago, the WBO ordered him to defend his belts against mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu, and news recently broke that the pair had come to terms. Unfortunately for Charlo, Dan Rafael has a copy of the binding contract he signed way back in January promising to face IBF mandatory Bakhram Murtazaliev immediately after the Castano rematch.
Murtazaliev (20-0, 15 KO) and his team are pushing to enforce the agreement, and while he’s nowhere near as interesting or lucrative an opponent as Tszyu, it’s hard to argue against his case. Even beyond the contract, he’s been Charlo’s (35-1-1, 19 KO) mandatory since stopping Jorge Fortea in Nov. 2019.
He’s stepped aside three times already for Charlo’s unifications with Jeison Rosario and Castano. As far as I can tell, there’s zero wiggle room; whatever you think about his chances, everything about this situation says he’s got dibs.
It really is astonishing that despite boxing having its biggest glut of undisputed titles in ages, the sanctioning bodies have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
We saw this with Josh Taylor, wherein the WBA stripped him despite allegedly agreeing before his fight with Jack Catterall that WBC mandatory Jose Zepeda was next inline.