The WBA have ordered WBA ‘regular’ World champion Leigh Wood [25(15)-2] to defend his title against Michael Conlan [16(8)-0] in a fight that will act as a world title eliminator.
The winner of the bout would be next in line for champion and former Carl Frampton rival Leo Santa Cruz.
It’s understood both parties were contacted by the sanctioning body on Friday and were given 30 days to agree on a deal or the clash will go to purse bids.
According to Boxingscene, WBA Championship Committee chairman Carlos Chavez wrote to Wood’s promoter Eddie Hearn and Jamie Conlan of Conlan Boxing and advised: “Please consider this communication as mandatory negotiations notification for WBA Featherweight division, chairman of the WBA Championship Committee. Please take notice, that pursuant to championship rule C.12 you must defend the title against the next leading available contender within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date you became the champion.”
“Based on the above mentioned we order a period of thirty (30) days negotiations beginning August 28, 2021, and will close at the end of the business day (- 5 GMT) on September 27, 2021,”
“In the event an agreement is not reached, or if any of the parties expresses unwillingness to negotiate the Championship Committee may call a purse bid.”
Conlan became mandatory for Wood when he won the ‘interim’ WBA 126lbs title by beating TJ Doheny at the Feile earlier this month.
The ‘interim’ title was scrapped this week but Belfast’s Olympic medal winner was given mandatory status in its place and, so, is next in line for Wood, who obtained the strap following a stunning twelfth-round stoppage of Xu Can on July 31st.
Conlan Boxing announced a December show this evening and may push for home advantage in the scrap but DAZN and a Matchroom card seems most likely unless Top Rank are keen.
As well as the strap a shot at the world champion is on the line. The current WBA featherweight champion is Leo Santa Cruz but the Mexican-American has not fought in the class in over two years. As a result, there have been constant suggestions that the Matchroom man will be elevated to full/’Super’ champion in the near future meaning any Conlan fight could be for the ‘super’ title.
If the fight does go to a purse bids, the split 55/45 in favour of Wood as the reigning secondary titlist.