In a move that will have boxing fans ask "What year is it?" the WBA has ordered former world champion Shannon Briggs, who is 45 years old, and Fres Oquendo, who is 43 years old, to fight for a vacant world heavyweight title.
The WBA made an announcement saying both men have 30 days to negotiate, or else the fight will have a purse bid. The winner of that fight will fight Alexander Ustinov, who is #3 in the WBA's official rankings.
The Championships Committee of the World Boxing Association has ordered the teams of #4 ranked Shannon Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs), from Brooklyn, New York, and #5 ranked Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs), from Chicago, Illinois, to commence negotiations to fight for the vacant WBA World heavyweight title.
The period of negotiations began on January 2, 2017 and both sides have 30 days to come to terms. If they are unable to reach an agreement, the Championships Committee will make the fight available via purse bid.
Oquendo last fought in 2014, losing via majority decision to Ruslan Chagaev in a fight that was also for the vacant WBA heavyweight championship. Oquendo has never won the world heavyweight title and sports a 37-8 record.
Briggs, on the other hand, has been busy since last losing to Vitali Klitschko in 2010. he retired from the sport until coming back in 2014 and is riding a 9-fight win streak. Briggs won the WBA–NABA heavyweight and WBC Latino interim heavyweight titles during that streak. Briggs also had a brief run in kickboxing, winning his only fight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2004 in Saitama, Japan.