Brian Castano Vacates WBA "Regular" Junior Middleweight Title

Brian Castano has vacated his WBA "Regular" junior middleweight title, canceling a title rematch against Michel Soro.

Castano vacated the belt after Soro's team won a purse bid several weeks ago that would have the fight take place once again in France. According to Michael Benson, Castano's team, however, claimed they refused to put the money into an escrow account and prove they'd hired VADA for drug testing.

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The news would ends Castano's reign as a WBA titleholder ends after winning the interim title back in 2016 when he knocked out Emmanuel De Jesus. Castano's lone interim title defense was against Soro in 2017 with Castano coming out on top with a split decision victory. The 29-year-old was then elevated to "Regular" titleholder and has defended the belt twice: a TKO win over Cedric Vitu in March 2018 and a split draw against Erislandy Lara this past March.

Back in May, Univent, Soro's promoter, won a purse bid for the title fight with a winning bid of $810,000 and with Castano getting the bulk of it as the titleholder. Castano would have been owed 75 percent of the winning bid, which equated to $607,500 while Soro would get the remaining 25 percent, which is $202,500. No date or venue was announced back then, but Univent was aiming for the fight to take place in Marseille, France on July 20.

As for what is next for the title, the WBA has yet to announce who would be competing for the vacant secondary belt. If Soro is still owed a shot at the title, the typical protocol for situations like this call for the next highest-ranked available contender to face Soro. Jarrett Hurd is ranked No. 1 by the WBA but he is expected to face Julian Williams in a rematch for the unified WBA "Super" and IBF titles although that fight has yet to be officially announced.

Lara sits in at No. 2 in the WBA rankings, but he is currently booked to fight Ramon Alvarez, ranked No. 15 by the WBA and the brother of Canelo Alvarez, on a PBC card on August 31. That would leave Kell Brook (No. 3) as the next man line, but he is planning to pursue a fight against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. If Brook skips the WBA title shot, then Carlos Adames (No. 4), Erickson Lubin (No. 5) and Israil Madrimov (No. 6) would be in contention for the vacant belt, but both Adames and Lubin have fights in late June.

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