Magee to challenge for World title against any of WBA top 15
By David Mahon
BRIAN MAGEE will now face a yet un-named opponent for the ‘regular’ WBA super-middleweight title after reigning champion Karoly Balzsay relinquished the strap due to injury.
The Hungarian has been struggling with a serious back problem since his victory over former champion Dimitri Sartison back in April and has been unable to fulfil his requirement to face Magee, his mandatory challenger.
Back in May, Team Magee won the purse bids to stage the bout that was initially pencilled in for July 7 in Copenhagen but with that date passed, there was the possibility that the clash between the WBA ‘regular’ and ‘interim’ champions could take place at the Odyssey Arena on September 22 as part of the ‘Judgement Day’ bill.
However, once again Balzsay has been unable to commit to a date citing injury and has been forced to give up the belt. It is quite ironic that Balzsay won the belt after Sartison – then champion – had to step-aside due to injury and Balzsay profited by defeating Ukrainian Stanyslav Kashtanov in Donetsk. Upon his return Sartison was installed as number one contender and a similar scenario could occur this time around with Magee, should he win the title, facing the 33-year-old in his next bout.
The 37 year old’s manager Pat Magee (no relation) is now tasked with finding an opponent for his charge with the bout likely to take place in October or November but said there are no shortage of options.
“The situation is that Balzsay had had to withdraw due to a long standing injury but Brian remains the number one contender,” said Pat.
“As we won the purse bids the situation is still in our hands and we must find an opponent for Brian that meets with the approval of the WBA so we can fight for the vacant title.
“In effect that means anyone in the top 15 ranked by the WBA.”A glance at the Panamanian based organisation’s listings released in June show a number of high profile names that could provide the opposition. As well as former champion Sartison and contender Kashtanov, possible opponents could be Kelly Pavlik, Andre Dirrel, Arthur Abraham or even England’s George Groves – a fight that would be sure to draw huge interest in Ireland and Britain.
A decision is expected to be announced soon but Magee believes anyone would be only too willing to step into the ring to face his charge with a world title on the line.
“This is a title people want so I can’t see there being any problem finding a good opponent for Brian,” added Pat.
“At the moment we don’t have a name or a venue but I would be fairly certain it will take place in October or November.
“As Balzsay has withdrawn and not been stripped, I would think he will be installed as number one contender should he return in the next six to nine months but this is a great opportunity for Brian and we are now just working to get something tied up for him.”