IBF Orders Paul Butler vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez For Vacant Bantamweight Title

With the announcement that Ryan Burnett will defend his WBA bantamweight title on the Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker undercard, Burnett's IBF title has been vacated. 

The now-vacant title will be fought between Paul Butler and Emmanuel Rodriguez, per the IBF's orders issued on February 12. Both sides have until February 15 to respond to the IBF order.

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Burnett vacating the title was a result of the now-former unified champion electing to defend his WBA title against Yonfrez Parejo under the impression that Rodriguez and former champion Lee Haskins would fight for an interim IBF title. The purse bid for that interim title fight got canceled and Rodriguez wanted to fight Burnett instead. Since Burnett had already elected to fight Parejo, he had to vacate the IBF title he won off of Haskins last year.

Rodriguez and Butler are the two-highest ranked available contenders at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively since the No. 1 and No. 2 positions are currently vacant. 

If the two sides agree to fight for the vacant title, then there is already one likely date and venue. Butler already has a fight scheduled for the April 21 boxing card in Liverpool, England, but does not have an opponent for April 21. The Liverpool card will feature the return of former world champion Amir Khan as he fights Phil Lo Greco.

Rodriguez is 17-0 but has not fought since last August when he defeated Giovanni Delgado inside four rounds in Puerto Rico to win the WBC Latino bantamweight title. Rodriguez is also a former WBO Latino and WBA Fedelatin bantamweight champion.

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