News And Notes From The World Of Boxing:

- Those that have been around boxing social media in the past few months may or may not have known about the sudden existence of a new title being created called the WBO Global title. With no real explanation of what exactly it is and whether or not it is a second minor world title (mainly because the word Global would give off vibes of it being a world title), people started to question whether or not the WBO was going down the same road as the WBA has been in recent years with multiple “world” titles per weight class. Well, I had a brief conversation with Gustavo Olivieri, who serves as the In-house Counsel for the WBO, and he elaborated on what the title actually is. Olivieri explained that the WBO Global title was originally intended to be the WBO Trans-Oceanic title, but after some further talks within the organization, the name was changed to what we see today. The title serves as a way for the WBO to have a presence in countries the WBO has no real presence and is just a regional title and not a second world title. Olivieri said the WBO would only do interim titles if the situation warrants it and he shares the same opinion many have in saying the WBA’s problem in having multiple world titles is a big problem in the sport.

- MTK Global has announced a massive show taking place in Kazakhstan this summer featuring a world title fight. The card will take place on July 6 at the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan and will feature a number of contenders in action as well as WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali defending his title against Arthur Villanueva. The card will be streamed on ESPN+ in the United States. A second title fight will see David Oliver Joyce defending his WBO European featherweight title for the first time since winning it on April 5 when he stopped Stephen Tiffney. Also announced for the show is the return of unbeaten welterweight Zhankosh Turarov taking on an opponent to be named at a later date. Turarov, a former WBA Fedecentro junior welterweight titleholder, last fought in September 2017 when he won a 10-round decision against Bruno Leonardo Romay. The official announcement from MTK Global also stated that unbeaten prospects Sultan Zaurbek, Viktor Kotochigov, Ali Baloyev, Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev, Nurtas Azhbenov and Abay Tolesh will be fighting on the card in separate bouts. Opponents for all of those fighters will be announced at a later date.

- PBC took a hit to its summer schedule when a rematch between Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo, set for June 23 in Las Vegas, was called off after Harrison injured his ankle last week. Harrison's injuries, an inner and outer ankle sprain with torn ligaments in his right ankle, will prevent him from training for the next 10 weeks. The fight was supposed to headline a Fox-televised card from the Mandalay Bay, but even with the news of Harrison getting injured, PBC did everything to make sure the card stayed intact and able to be televised on Fox. On June 3, PBC announced that middleweight veteran Jorge Cota will face Charlo in the main event. The rest of the main card stayed the same with Guillermo Rigondeaux facing Julio Ceja in a WBC super bantamweight title eliminator and Joey Spencer facing Akeem Black in the opening bout.

- The annual IBF convention recently took place in Macau, China and although there are no public news regarding the organization moving forward, it did hold a special card at the Wynn Palace Cotai on June 1. A total of three regional title bouts took place on the card, but the most notable one was the main event. Not only did Meng Fanlong and Adam Deines fight for the IBF International light heavyweight title, but they also fought for the right to be mandatory challenger to Artur Beterbiev’s world title. Fanlong ultimately won by unanimous decision and could potentially be Beterbiev’s next opponent unless Beterbiev is allowed to make a voluntary title defense in the coming months. The other two fights saw Steve Gago defeat Adam Diu Abdulhamid to win the IBF Pan Pacific welterweight title and Richie Mepranum win a majority decision against Sen Chen to win the IBF Pan Pacific super bantamweight title. The lone non-title fight was a four-round bout that had Xinlong Bai win his pro debut against Hon Lek Ao by split decision.

- Top Rank Boxing announced that Teofimo Lopez will face Masayoshi Nakatani in an IBF lightweight title eliminator on July 19 at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. The fight will headline a Top Rank card that will be streamed on ESPN+ in the United States. Lopez, one of the fastest-rising stars in the lightweight division, is coming off a fifth-round knockout win over European champion Edis Tatli in the co-main event of the April 20 Top Rank on ESPN pay-per-view card from Madison Square Garden. The 21-year-old Lopez is currently ranked in the top five on all four major governing bodies and has beaten his last five opponents from inside the distance. Nakatani, ranked No. 3 by the IBF at lightweight, is also unbeaten in the pro ranks enjoying a four-fight knockout streak of his own. The winner of Lopez vs. Nakatani will be the mandatory challenger to the IBF title being held by Richard Commey. Commey is set to defend his title against former lightweight champion Raymundo Beltran on a Top Rank on ESPN card on June 28. It’s clear that the Top Rank plan is to have Lopez be properly built as a true star in the division and the goal is to have him fight the Commey-Beltran winner by the end of the year. With WBA and WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko fighting for the vacant WBC title later this year, Top Rank is hoping to have Lomachenko and Lopez face each other in 2020 for the undisputed lightweight titles, potentially as a pay-per-view main event.

- WBO champion Maurice Hooker and WBC champion Jose Ramirez will clash in a title unification on July 27. The fight will take place at College Center Park in Arlington, Texas, Hooker's home state, and will be streamed on DAZN in the United States. The fight would culminate a near year-long rivalry between the two titleholders as both men had publicly stated their interest in fighting each other. Hooker had been interested in fighting Ramirez even before Hooker's first title defense which took place last November in Oklahoma. Hooker defeated Alex Saucedo last year on ESPN in his first defense and proceeded to call out Ramirez in the middle of the ring, inviting the WBC champion to fight him on DAZN. Hooker's last fight saw him dominate Mikkel LesPierre in March in Verona, New York on DAZN. Prior to the fight against LesPierre, Hooker told Fightful in an exclusive interview that he hoped to defend his title in Texas this summer, but wasn't entirely sure if he was facing Ramirez next, believing fights against the top names at 140 pounds would come in 2020. Ramirez has held the WBC title since March 2018 when he won a 12-round decision against Amir Imam at Madison Square Garden. Since then, Ramirez has successfully defended the title twice: once against Antonio Orozco in September 2018 and once against Jose Zepeda this past February, both fights taking place in Fresno, California. The two sides have been negotiating a fight deal between the two after Hooker's fight against LesPierre, with Ramirez confirming such talks were taking place several weeks back. This would be the first of two potential title unification fights at 140 pounds taking place this year. Aside from Hooker vs. Ramirez for the unified WBO and WBC titles, there will be a unification bout for the WBA and IBF titles between Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor. That fight, which is also the finals of the World Boxing Super Series junior welterweight tournament, currently does not have a date or venue announced, but it is expected to take place later this year. One can definitely look at this fight as the start of Eddie Hearn wanting to have all four 140-pound titles on DAZN. Making an educated guess on what Hearn is thinking, he believes that Hooker can beat Ramirez and that Taylor beats Prograis later this year. Given that Hearn has publicly stated he is interested in bringing Taylor on board with Matchroom Boxing in some capacity, a hypothetical Hooker vs. Taylor for the undisputed junior welterweight titles will see a winner be affiliated with Matchroom Boxing in some form and by extension, on DAZN.

- Oleksandr Usyk lost his WBO and WBC cruiserweight titles as his heavyweight debut looms closer and prospects of him going back to cruiserweight are essentially nonexistent. On June 4, the WBC announced that Usyk would be named “Champion in Recess,” leaving the title in position to eventually be in the World Boxing Super Series. On June 5, the WBO made Usyk’s end as its cruiserweight champion official. As a result, Krzysztof Glowacki has been elevated from interim titleholder to world champion. With the announcement of Glowacki being ascended to WBO champion came the news of Glowacki's first title defense. Glowacki will defend his title against Mairis Briedis, ranked No. 2 by the WBO, on June 15 in Riga, Latvia in the World Boxing Super Series semifinals. That fight will be streamed on DAZN in the United States. What’s left of Usyk’s reign as a cruiserweight champion is his IBF title still being active. That’s expected to end soon with the IBF title potentially also being on the line in the World Boxing Super Series at some point.

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