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Notes: Martinez to go through with defense vs. Berchelt

Junior lightweight titleholder Roman Martinez will face mandatory challenger Miguel Berchelt. AP Photo/Gregory Payan

A few notes from around the boxing world:

  • PR Best Boxing Promotions, which protested the installation of Miguel Berchelt as the mandatory challenger for junior lightweight titleholder Roman "Rocky" Martinez, whom it promotes, said it has accepted the WBO’s ruling against it and will go through with finalizing Martinez-Berchelt. "We got the answer to our protest and it was not in our favor,” PRBBP vice president Peter Rivera said. “The WBO believes that Berchelt has the merits to become the mandatory challenger for Rocky, so the fight between Rocky and Berchelt must be made soon. We follow the rules and accept the WBO decision.” When talks to a third fight between Martinez and Orlando Salido fell apart, the WBO ordered the purse bid for Martinez-Berchelt. Only after it was conducted and Berchelt promoter Zanfer Promotions won it for $251,000 last month -- with PRBBP refusing to participate -- did PRBBB raise the issue of whether Berchelt (28-1, 25 KOs), 24, of Mexico, met the standards to be a mandatory challenger. Rivera said that Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs), 33, of Puerto Rico, could face Berchelt on March 12.

  • Junior lightweights Orlando Cruz and Romulo Koasicha, both former world title challengers, will square off in a 10-round bout March 4 (Telemundo, 11:35 p.m. ET) at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa, Florida, promoter Tuto Zabala Jr. announced. Puerto Rico’s 34-year-old Cruz (22-4-1, 11 KOs), boxing’s first openly gay fighter, suffered a seventh-round knockout loss to Orlando Salido in a 2013 fight for a vacant featherweight world title. Cruz has won two fights in a row. Koasicha (25-5, 15 KOs), 24, of Mexico, is coming off a 10th-round knockout loss in November, when he challenged featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko.

  • Heavyweight Robert Helenius (22-0, 13 KOs), on the comeback trail after a two-year layoff, will face former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in a 12-round fight on April 2 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, where the Sweden-born Helenius is based. Helenius was widely considered one of boxing’s most promising heavyweights until a highly controversial decision win against Dereck Chisora in 2011 followed by long layoffs and promotional problems. He fought once in 2012, once in 2013 and then was out of action for two years. Since returning 11 months ago, he was won three fights in a row (including the European title) against modest opposition, so Duhaupas is a step up. Duhaupas (33-3, 20 KOs), 35, of France, challenged world titleholder Deontay Wilder in September and got knocked out in the 11th round. Duhaupas returned on Feb. 5 and won a 10-round decision against journeyman Marcelo Luiz Nascimento.