The fate of the WBO super middleweight title has become somewhat unclear now.
Days after Billy Joe Saunders moved up in weight to challenge for the seemingly vacant WBO super middleweight title, it was revealed that Gilberto Ramirez never actually surrendered the title to move up to light heavyweight. In a previous update to the WBO rankings, the governing body listed Ramirez as the No. 1 contender to the light heavyweight title, while Saunders was moved from the top middleweight spot to No. 2 at super middleweight.
With the super middleweight title vacant according to the rankings, Saunders and top ranked super middleweight Shefat Isufi announced that they would fight for the title on April 13 at Wembley Arena.
In an interview with ESTO, Ramirez claimed that he never vacated his title, but instead is planning on fighting his next fight at light heavyweight and that he has been given the green light by WBO President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel to keep his 168-pound title.
"The title I have was never vacant. I'll do a fight at 175 pounds to see how I feel. In fact, I spoke with [Valcarcel], I told him I have an optional fight and he supported me," Ramirez said.
The WBO has since then made changes to its rankings, placing Ramirez back as the super middleweight champion and putting Anthony Yarde back at No. 1 in the light heavyweight rankings. Joshua Buatsi took the open spot left by Ramirez and entered the light heavyweight rankings at No. 15.
As for the super middleweight rankings, Isufi and Saunders are still ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. With Saunders no longer appearing on the middleweight rankings, Gennady Golovkin automatically rose from No. 2 to No. 1, making him the top contender for the 160-pound title being held by Demetrius Andrade.