<
>

WBA continues to seek reduction of belts

Takashi Uchiyama, left, was ordered to defend his junior lightweight "super" title against "regular" titlist Javier Fortuna. Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

So far, so good, as it relates to the promise from WBA president Gilberto Mendoza Jr. to rid the organization of the numerous excess world title belts it hands out in the same weight class.

For years, the organization has ridiculously had three titleholders in most divisions, a “super” titleholder, “regular” titleholder and interim titlist. From time to time there were even four if there was a unified titleholder.

Mendoza, who supported the multiple titles for years, apparently has finally realized how silly all the belts are and how damaging it is to boxing in the long run.

He told me recently he would begin the process of consolidating titles so there was only one per division -- as it should be.

He has already ordered some of the various titleholders to face each other to reduce the clutter and continues to do so (although it’s been a disappointment that he has not yet ordered middleweight "super" titleholder Gennady Golovkin and "regular" titlist Daniel Jacobs to meet).

The latest divisions that will see a reduction of belts are junior lightweight and bantamweight.

The WBA recently ordered junior lightweight “super” titleholder Takashi Uchiyama (24-0-1, 20 KOs), of Japan, and “regular” titlist Javier Fortuna, of the Dominican Republic (29-0-1, 21 KOs), to fight. If they can’t make a deal in the next couple of weeks, the WBA said it will order a purse bid. The winner of that eventual fight would then be ordered to face interim titlist Jezreel Corrales (19-1, 7 KOs) of Panama.

At bantamweight, “super” titleholder Juan Carlos Payano (17-0, 8 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, has been ordered to meet “regular” titlist Jamie McDonnell (27-2-1, 12 KOs) of England. They also face a purse bid in the coming weeks if they don’t make a deal. The winner would then have to face interim titlist Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18 KOs) of Kazakhstan.