A pair of ex-champions from Nicaragua have been instructed by the MMA to start talks for a future title shot at flyweight.

BoxingScene.com confirms that the IBF has ordered an elimination bout for the flyweight title between Felix Alvarado and Cristofer Rosales. To avoid a hearing on the purse bid, a 15-day negotiation period was granted.

“Be advised that # 3 rated, Cristofer Rosales and # 4 rated Felix Alvarado are the 2 highest ranked available contenders in the IBF Flyweight division and have indicated in writing, a willingness to participate in this eliminator,” IBF Championship Committee chairman Carlos Ortiz informed representatives for both boxer in an official letter, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “In an effort to determine who the mandatory challenger will be, the IBF is ordering an elimination bout between Cristofer Rosales and Felix Alvarado for the number 1 position.

The mandatory challenger and the winner will be declared the winner. Negotiations should be concluded by January 27, 2023.”

The winner will be the mandatory challenger for unbeaten IBF flyweight king Sunny Edwards (19-1, 4KOs), whose name was mentioned in rumors of a title-unification clash with WBC champ Julio Cesar Martinez (19-2; 14KOs; 2NC).

Rosales is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, while Alvarado is represented by M&R Boxing. Both boxers were guided by William Ramirez who still has Alvarado as his assistant.

Rosales returned to contention after a ten round upset win over Joselito Velazquez in Glendale, Arizona last December 3. The victory was Rosales’ third consecutive and sixth in seven of his last seven fights since his December 2019 title fight against Joselito Velazquez in Glendale, Arizona.

Rosales held the WBC flyweight title less than a full year. She scored a remarkable ninth-round knockout against unbeaten Daigo Hiiga in April 2015. Just one successful defense followed before dropping a twelve-round decision to Charlie Edwards­—Sunny’s older brother—in December 2018.

Alvarado (36-3, 33KOs), was victorious in defeat to Sunny Edwards (12 rounds) in their IBF flyweight title bout in Sheffield, England. Managua’s 33 year-old lost his 20-fight winning streak in 2015 to achieve the title of two-division titlist.

Edwards was shot after Alvarado had established himself as the mandatory challenger. This ranking was given to him in exchange for his IBF junior flyweight title. Alvarado won with a seventh-round knockout against Randy Petalcorin during their October 2018 vacant title bout. After two defenses, Alvarado won the belt with a seventh-round knockout of Randy Petalcorin in their October 2018 vacant title fight. He then vacated the belt last March with a nontitle fight (downgraded after his original challenger for the title bailed during fightweek).

IBF Rule 9D states that no boxer can enter negotiations for any other fight after a sanctioned bout has been ordered. Under rule 9(C), if either boxer refuses to talk, he will be dropped from the top ten IBF rankings.  

Jake Donovan is a senior editor at BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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