It’s unclear what will happen to the WBO super lightweight title if Josh Taylor successfully defends it against Teofimo Lopez on June 10th, but we know there’ll be a mandatory challenger waiting. The WBO has officially ordered no. 2 Arnold Barboza Jr to face no. 3 Liam Paro in a final eliminator, giving them 10 days to come to terms.
I’ll admit to some confusion as to how Paro (23-0, 14 KO) got here. His December 2021 split decision over Yomar Alamo put him on top of the rankings, but he found himself supplanted by Teofimo Lopez after “The Takeover’s” defeat of Sandor Martin. Barboza (28-0, 10 KO) then slipped past him into the no. 2 spot by edging out Jose Pedraza in February despite Paro’s brutal finish of Brock Jarvis four months prior.
Apply logic to sanctioning bodies feels like trying to Drift with a kaiju and yet I keep trying.
In any event, good matchup. Paro’s a quality operator and Barboza’s mix of aggression and light fists tends to make for close, competitive fights. Let’s hope Top Rank and Matchroom can find common ground and make it happen.