Regis Prograis left his WBC title win over Jose Zepeda pressed with having to honor back-to-back obligatory defenses.

The 2-time champ is not below such obligation and may now face the contender of his selecting for his subsequent outing.

A ruling rendered by the WBC confirmed that Prograis (28-1, 24KOs) is formally within the voluntary section of his WBC junior welterweight title reign. The decision got here within the wake of obligatory challenger and former unified titlist Jose Ramirez declining to proceed with their ordered title battle, because of his group’s displeasure over the ultimate purse break up.

“The WBC has obtained official affirmation that Jose Carlos Ramirez has determined to withdraw from combating in opposition to WBC champion Regis Prograis, a battle which was mandated,” the sanctioning physique wrote in an official ruling on Wednesday. “The WBC will give Regis Prograis a voluntary protection till we will analyze the long run steps to be taken within the division.”

Prograis—who lives and trains within the larger Houston space—claimed the WBC title in an eleventh-round knockout of Jose Zepeda on November 26 in Carson, California. The belt was accessible after Scotland’s Josh Taylor relinquished the crown earlier this summer time in lieu of a compulsory title battle versus Zepeda (36-3, 28KOs). It marked the second of three titles he gave up in 2022 after totally unifying the division in a twelve-round win over Ramirez final Might.

Taylor additionally beat Prograis by way of majority resolution within the October 2019 World Boxing Tremendous Collection 140-pound event last, defending his IBF title whereas claiming Prograis’ WBA belt within the unification conflict. Neither title is any longer with Taylor, who at the moment solely holds the WBO title together with designation because the division’s lineal champion.

Prograis’ win was ready to subsequent face Ramirez for his first title protection, as beforehand confirmed through the annual WBC conference earlier that month in Acapulco, Mexico.

Ramirez was initially because of face Zepeda because the number-two challenger, however unable to proceed with such a battle because of a household battle. The previous champ from Avenal, California was already because of wed his longtime girlfriend, with their wedding ceremony ceremony already scheduled for this fall. Ramirez agreed to step apart and permit Prograis-Zepeda to happen, with the promise of getting the winner.

The WBC ordered Prograis-Ramirez, with such negotiations at all times figuring to be problematic.

Prograis is promoted by Probellum and managed by Sam Katkovski. Ramirez—a 2012 U.S. Olympian and former WBC/WBO 140-pound titlist—has been with Prime Rank and supervisor Rick Mirigian all through his professional profession. Prime Rank founder and chairman Bob Arum and Probellum co-founder Richard Schaefer have sordid historical past, which has slowed the circulation of their two corporations doing enterprise collectively until completely ordered to take action.

Even then, it nonetheless doesn’t take.

Ramirez’s group instantly lobbied for a extra favorable break up than what’s historically supplied in obligatory title fights. The request got here in lieu of precise negotiations, with Ramirez in search of a minimum of 40 p.c of a possible profitable bid. The WBC met the request midway, agreeing to up the break up to 65-35 from 70-30. It nonetheless wasn’t sufficient for Ramirez, who confirmed to the sanctioning physique that he would as an alternative head in one other route—seemingly a battle with former IBF light-weight titlist Richard Commey subsequent March in Fresno, California.

“The WBC has supported Jose Carlos Ramirez for a few years each in boxing and out of doors of the ring as he’s an envoy of excellent will with exemplary social accountability applications as a pacesetter of his Neighborhood,” famous the WBC. “We want him good luck in his future each inside and out of doors the ring.

“You will need to define that The WBC adopted its guidelines and had Ramirez received the title vs Zepeda and confronted Prograis as champion the break up would have been 70-30 in his favor. The WBC supported him and appointed him obligatory contender and likewise modified the break up to 65-35. His resolution to withdrew is revered.”

A second ordered WBC eliminator noticed former unified and lineal light-weight champion Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13KOs) edge out Spain’s Sandor Martin on December 10 at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis. Presumably, Lopez could be subsequent in line to problem for the title. Nonetheless, such negotiations would contain the identical promotional events and sure producing equally failed outcomes.

It’s a matter for the WBC to type out, with the sanctioning physique taking a proactive strategy in permitting Prograis to renew his profession. Whereas not below stress to honor a compulsory, his subsequent battle nonetheless should come versus a WBC-ranked fighter or an opponent—whether or not one other titlist or a fighter in a separate weight division—accredited by the sanctioning physique.

Jake Donovan is a senior author for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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