The WBA announced today that cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian must defend his title against former two-time champion Yuniel Dorticos, giving the pair until November 10th to come to terms and avoid a purse bid.
Said announcement calls Dorticos (26-2, 24 KO) the mandatory challenger, though I’m not entirely clear on how he managed that feat. The 37-year-old has fought just twice since falling to Mairis Briedis in the 2020 WBSS finals, beating the abysmal Jesse Bryan and Deibis Berrocal. Perhaps it’s a sort of lifetime achievement award; he was near the top of the pack during the late 10s cruiserweight golden age with wins over Youri Kalenga, Mateusz Masternak, and Andrew Tabiti.
The oddness of this situation is admittedly fitting for Goulamirian’s (27-0, 16 KO) title rein. The Frenchman’s held some permutation of a WBA title since beating Ryad Merhy in 2018, but his wide decision over Aleksei Egorov last November marks his only ring appearance since 2019. In his defense, it was supposed to happen a year prior before a last-minute bout of COVID, but still.
If Dorticos has still got it, this could be a funmatchup. Hopefully we’ll get some form of U.S. broadcast.