The WBO has taken steps to crown a new light heavyweight champion by proposing a four-man tournament.
The governing body has ordered two title eliminators among its four highest-ranked contenders to face each other. On one side, former super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez was ordered to fight former light heavyweight champion Eleider Alvarez and the other title eliminator was Umar Salamov vs. Maxim Vlasov. The winners of both fights would then have to fight each other to crown a new champion.
All four fighters for both fights have 24 hours from January 21 to tell the WBO they are willing to participate in the title eliminators and 15 days to come to terms to a deal or else a purse bid will be issued. Any purse bid that is made for any of the two WBO light heavyweight title eliminators will have a minimum bid of $300,000.
The last champion was Canelo Alvarez, who took the belt from Sergey Kovalev with an 11th-round knockout victory in November. Prior to that, Kovalev won the belt from Alvarez in February 2019, avenging his loss to Alvarez who beat Kovalev in August 2018.
Alvarez is coming off a seventh-round knockout win over Michael Seals on January 18 in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card from Verona, New York. Ramirez, who held the WBO super middleweight title from 2016 to 2019, fought as a light heavyweight in his last bout this past April when he beat Tommy Karpency.
Salamov, the WBO's No. 2 light heavyweight and International titleholder, has won his last six bouts after suffering his first career defeat at the hands of Damien Hooper. Vlasov competed in the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, fighting in the cruiserweight tournament but lost to Krzysztof Glowacki in the quarterfinals back in 2018. Since then, Vlasov moved down to light heavyweight, where he has won all three of his fights.