With Terence Crawford moving up to welterweight, the WBO junior welterweight title remains vacant, but it appears that it will take until the spring to have a new champion.
The two boxers competing for the vacant title are Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooper, the organization's top two boxers at 140 boxers. According to reports, Flanagan's promoter Frank Warren has been negotiating the fight and the plan is for the two boxers to fight for the title sometime in April.
Hooper, who holds the WBO-NABO junior welterweight title, has fought twice in 2017. He traveled to Mexico to win a ten round unanimous decision over former champion Cristobal Cruz in Tijuana. He came back to the ring in August to win a ten-round decision over undefeated Courtney Jackson in Texas.
Flanagan, who held the WBO lightweight title up until earlier this year, announced at the WBO convention that he would vacate his lightweight title in order to move up in weight. Per WBO rules, Flanagan is automatically inserted as the top boxer at 140 pounds and gets the mandatory challenger status. A similar instance happened with Crawford, having vacated his 140-pound belt to challenge for Jeff Horn's welterweight world title.
For the past year, Flanagan had been trying to secure a fight with Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo on two occasions, but injuries shut down any chance of Verdejo challenging for his first world title. Flanagan won the WBO lightweight title in 2015 and has defended the title five times. Flanagan hasn't fought since beating Petr Petrov back in April.