With Arthur Abraham (35-3, 27) having recently won the WBO Super Middleweight title by defeating Robert Stieglitz (42-3, 23) I decided to have a look at "King Arthur's" record. Whilst doing this I remember a fight he had at the start of the year against Argentinian Pablo Oscar Natalio Farias (currently 21-2, 13) who some may remember was known as "Pokémon".

So why am I bringing up this obscure Argentinian, cartoon fan who was beaten By Abraham? Well his fight with Abraham was for a regional alphabet title, the WBO European Super Middleweight title.

Until fighting Abraham, Farias had never fought out of Argentina. In fact Farias was born, raised, currently lives in and makes his career in Argentina so how exactly did he manage to end up fighting for a "European" title?

I can understand Abraham fighting for a European regional title, he was born in Armenia and is based in Germany, but I really have no idea how Farias managed to fight for the title. Would the WBO please explain this one?
 
One thing all boxing fans will be fully aware of is the fact the title awarding bodies love to have multiple versions of "world titles" flying around the place. Whilst it's pretty obvious that the WBA are the biggest culprit with many divisions having a "Regular", an "Interim" and even a "Super" champion. Whilst we think that is pretty bad we've actually been made aware of the WBO going 1 step further and having 2 "interim" titles at the same time!

Back in the summer of 2010 Ivan Calderon was seen as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, he had been unbeaten in 35 fights (34-0-1) and was the reigning WBO Light Flyweight champion with a number of defenses behind him. Underneath him the WBO had an interim champion in the form of Filipino youngster John Riel Casimero. In June of 2010 Calderon defended his title against Mexican Jesus Iribe (UD12) then things started to get a bit weird at the WBO HQ.

Just weeks after Calderon v Iribe the WBO had their "Interim" title on the line as John Riel Casimero faced Ramon Garcia Hirales, Hirales managed to narrowly edge past Casimero to claim the "Interim title" and the logical idea would be to try and force Calderon v Hirales. The only problem with this is that the world of boxing is anything but logical.

Just weeks after Hirales had become the interim champion Calderon would lose his world title to Mexican slugger Giovani Segura (KO8) who unified the WBO title with the WBA title. Instead of then forcing Segura to face Hirales the WBO had a better idea and that was to allow Hirales to defend his interim strap against Manuel Vargas. Hirales was successful against Vargas (MD12) and it seemed like he had cemented his place as the "interim" champion. Sadly just 5 weeks later the WBO allowed Jesus Geles to face Omar Soto in a battler for the "interim" Light Flyweight title, the same one that Hirales had defended!

Geles managed defeat Soto (MD12) for the interim title bringing us to the situation of having 2 “interim” champions from the same governing body at the same time. What further complicated matters was the fact that Hirales was allowed to defend his “interim” title against the same Omar Soto who had lost to Geles, just weeks after the Soto Geles bout.

Thankfully the WBO cleared up the situation in February 2011 when Geles faced Hirales in what can only be considered a WBO “Interim” title unification bout. In a hard fought bout Geles controversially scored the split decision victory to unify the title belts.

Whilst this was confusing in terms of being an “interim” unification it was also confusing just on an activity basis. Between June 2010 and May 2011 the WBO Light Flyweight title, and the interims were fought for no less than 9 times (see below):

June 12th 2010-Calderon UD12 Iribe (“Regular” title)
July 24th 2010-Hirales SD12 Casimero (“Interim” title #1)
August 28th 2010-Segura KO8 Calderon (“Regular” title)
September 25th 2010-Hirales MD12 Vargas (“Interim” title #1)
October 30th-Geles MD12 Soto (“Interim” title #2)
December 18th 2010-Hirales UD12 Soto (“Interim” title #1)
February 5th 2011-Geles SD12 Hirales (“Interim” unification)
April 2nd 2011-Segura KO3 Calderon (“Regular” title) (Segura then vacated the title)
April 30th 2011-Hirales KO4 Geles (“Regular” title)

Thankfully the WBO finally got out of their own mess thanks to Segura moving up to fight at Flyweight.

 
We all hear the media and boxing fans alike complaining about their being too many world titles available for fighters now a days, back in the good old days there was only 1 and we all knew who the best was. Problem is that not only is there a host of world titles but we also have countless "other" titles, you know the International, the Inter-continental, the International Silver and those sorts of belts.

I understand the idea of having different levels of titles. I understand that a boxer starts at the bottom and works their way up. For example a British fighter will look to win an "Area" title, then a "National" title, then the "British title" then an international type of title (usually the "Commonwealth" title) then move on to more prestigious international belts ("European" title for example) before finally moving into world title bouts.
So, just for an example we can appreciate John Smith from Birmingham, England winning the "Central Area" title, the "English" title, the "British" title, the "Commonwealth title", the "European" title and then a "World" title. Taking steps up towards a defined goal.

However with their being so many "International" titles we're easily confused. We are just a few hours from David Haye v Dereck Chisora a bout that is being fought for 2 titles, but we've no idea which two. The Boxnation (the promoter) website claims the bout is for the WBO INTERNATIONAL & the WBA INTER-CONTINENTAL, Frank Warren's (Chisora's regular promoter) website claim the bout is for the "WBA/WBO INTERNATIONAL" title.

So the first question we have is "Which titles is the bout for?" Is the WBA INTERNATIONAL title on the line or is it the WBA INTER-CONTINENTAL? Secondly has anyone told the owners of some of these titles that they no longer holder the belt? For example does Tyson Fury, who holds the WBO INTER-CONTINENTAL title (apparently), know his belt is on the line tonight? Coincidentally Fury holds a won over Chisora and actually only won his INTERNATIONAL title last weekend. What about Andrzej Wawrzyk who, as recently as June defended his WBA INTERNATIONAL title?

The only "logical" (trust me I use that world loosely) titles that could be on the line would be the WBO INTERNATIONAL and WBA INTER-CONTINENTAL titles, the latter of which was last defended by Robert Helenius in December 2011 (again oddly against Chisora).

As far as we are aware, the only information regarding the WBO's stance with this fight comes from a really bizarre post on their website dated May 18th, 2012:

Clarification Regarding the Haye vs. Chisora Fight

"Nothing is really going on with the WBO with this. We are not asked to Sanction the contest.

After a match in Germany with"

(Yes it actually ends mid sentence)
Also interestingly Tyson Fury isn't mentioned on the WBO's website as holding any title at all.

The WBA's situation is equally as blurry with their website still listing Andrzej Wawrzyk as the "WBA INT" champion. INT being short for INTERNATIONAL or INTER-CONTINENTAL? Our only clue there is that David Kostecki is currently listed as "WBA I/C" presumably "INTER-CONTINENTAL".

As of May 12th the WBA hadn't actually made their decision on putting their title on the bout either despite Frank Warren Promotions declaring that they had. The result of this vote doesn't appear to have been made public on their own website.

All in all, all I can safely say is that I'm confused. I guess I'll be like everyone else and find out for sure tonight...

P.S
Thank you to Eric Armit for bringing this situation to our attention with his look at whether or not the bout should be a 10 or 12 rounder.

Sources: WBO's stance on the fight-
http://www.wboboxing.com/clarification-regarding-the-haye-vs-chisora-fight

WBA's titles and rankings-
http://wbanews.com/artman/uploads/1/WBA_RATING_JUNE_2012.pdf

WBA decision not made yet-
http://wbanews.com/artman/publish/news/WBA_still_yet_to_vote_on_Haye_v_Chisora_sanction_approval.shtml

Eric Armit's excellent piece on boxrec-
http://news.boxrec.com/news/2012/title-picture-bit-fuzzy-haye-v-chisora
 
In a follow up to our piece entitled "WBC Weird Bastards in Control" we've since found out just how much the WBC hate unification bouts. Firstly it appears they weren't particularly happy with the WBC/WBA Minimumweight title unification bout between Kazuto Ioka and Akira Yaegashi that took place just a few weeks ago. Whilst both titles in that situation had mandatory challengers it may have made more sense to allow the champion to unify and then face both mandatories over the following 6-12 months instead of forcing the winner (Ioka) to give up one of his titles.

Following the Ioka v Yaegahsi fight the WBC stepped in the way of unification bouts with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (WBC Light Middleweight champion) and Austin Trout (WBA Light Middleweight champion) or Cornelius Bundrage (IBF Light Middleweight champion). The situation for Canelo now sees him defending his WBC world title against career Light Welterweight Josesito Lopez in what can only be described as mismatch.

After the WBA re-instated Amir Khan as the WBA Light Welterweight "Super Champion" ahead of his bout with WBC champion Danny Garcia boxing fans all expected to see a unified champion at 140lbs. Instead of a proper unification the WBC once again threw their toys out of the proverbial pram and has stated "The WBC will accept only the WBC. Whoever doesn't want it, the title is vacant." Effectively the winner will be forced to make a decision, they can be either the WBA or the WBC champion.

Whilst this decision won't matter too much if Khan wins (as he is generally expected to) due to the fact the Englishman is expect to move to Welterweight if he wins it will matter if Garcia wins as the belt situation in the division will be a real mess.

Hopefully the WBC will change their mind on this bizarre stance sooner rather than later. Boxing needs to head towards unification bouts, we need more unified champions and we need to have the best fighting the best. If one champion holds all 4 titles (as Bernard Hopkins did) then that's good for the sport as it gives a clear #1 in the division. Sadly however if the WBC want to step in the way of unification then they ultimately need to be ignored and put into the same boat as the likes of the WBF, they are standing in the way of progress.

With the Middleweight division heading towards a bit of a "spiritual unification" with Chavez v Martinez (WBC, RING) and Sturm v Geale (WBA "super" and IBF) hopefully the WBC grow up and and allow the winners to fight to sort out one of the most ridiculous situations in world boxing.
 
After the recent defeat of "Vicious" Victor Ortiz by Josesito Lopez boxing fans have been wondering who will step up to the plate and face the current WBC Light Middleweight (154lbs) champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The list of possible names is extensive with the likes of Miguel Cotto, Javier Maciel, Carlos Molina, Ricardo Mayorga, Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, Marcos Maidana, Josesito Lopez, Acelino Freitas, Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara all being mentioned by one source or another.

The strongest rumours seemed to suggest that Canelo Alvarez would be defending his WBC title against the current WBA "regular" champion Austin Trout. The Trout v Alvarez bout seemed on paper to make plenty of sense with it being a unification between two top 10 Light Middleweights. Sadly earlier this evening the WBC nixed the bout in the bud with a statement reading:
“We do not accept unification, because if we agree we would be losing authority. We are not going to take away the exclusivity because we own the WBC brand."

Seems funny that just a week prior to this statement the WBC and WBA had a unification bout down at Minimumweight between Kazuto Ioka and Akira Yeagashi with Ioka unifying those to title belts. In the past unification bouts have been seen by boxing fans as "the holy grail" or bouts even more so when both fighters are generally regarded as top 10 fighters in their division.

The WBC had yet more surprises for us. Not only had they prevented a very promising unification bout between two youngsters but presumably they had also ruled out Cornelius Bundrage (the current IBF champion)-as long as he defeats Cory Spinks this coming weekend. They also pushed 3 possible names, one is James Kirkland-a fighter who has recently suffered and injury and will likely still be recovering by the mooted date of the Canelo bout, one is Carlos Molina-a fighter that would test Canelo in ways he's never been tested, a genuinely good fight and 36 year old Acelino Freitas.

Freitas, a former champion down at Super Featherweight (130lbs) and Lightweight (135) retired in 2007 following a stoppage loss Juan Diaz though recently returned from his retirement to stop countryman Michael Oliveira. The win over the unproven Oliveira has some how earned Freitas a #15 ranking at Light Middleweight by the WBC, a ranking that enables him to challenge Canelo for the world title.

Whilst Freitas was once an excellent fighter he is no Light Middleweight and the folk at the WBC need to take a long hard look at themselves here for trying to feed Canelo a faded and much smaller Brazilian. Sadly however the idea of a Freitas v Canelo fight does rather sum up Canelo's uninspiring reign as a world champion which has seen him generally defending against Welterweights (147lbs) such as Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley and Kermit Cintron as well as winning the then vacant title in a bout against Matthew Hatton.

Don't be shocked if the WBC manage to confuse us all over the coming weeks until an opponent for Alvarez is eventually named.
 
If your a hardcore boxing fan I'm almost certain that you'll know that the Minimumweight division had one of its biggest fights this week as Kazuto Ioka unified the WBA and the WBC titles as he defeated countryman Akira Yaegashi. Just 10 days later, on June 30th the "interim" WBA Minimumweight title will be up for grabs as Edwin Diaz faces Jesus Silvestre.

For many the main issue for this fight will be the fact the WBA are collecting 2 sanctioning fees inside a month for world titles in a single weight division. We however have more than just that one issue.

Back in November 2011 Jesus Silvestre fought for this very same title (the "interim" WBA Minimumweight title) and actually lost to Paipharob Kokietgym in a very hotly contested bout. Since then Paipharob hasn't defended the title nor has he been moved into a "regular" title fight, and yet Silvestre has managed to be given another chance to fight for the title. Since losing to Paipharob Silvestre has only fought once, beating Marvin Diaz (who entered the bout with Silvestre with a record of 1-1-1, 1). So is issue 2 and 3-Why did Paipharob lose the title? What has Silvestre done to be given another chance at the title?

However the biggest issues aren't with Silvestre who is a very decent fighter who has recorded a record of 24-3 (18) with losses to Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (who went on to win an interim title at 108lbs) Donnie Nietes (the current WBO champion at 108lbs) and Paipharob Kokietgym. They are instead with Edwin Diaz a fighter who has a record of 15-17 (6)-yes he has lost more bouts than he has won! Diaz, a 30 year old Panamanian simply should not be fighting in any type of "world" title bout.

For us at www.weirdboxing.info we feel the need to speak out about things and sadly this fight has everything wrong with it. It has the feel of a cash grab by the WBA who have just had a sanctioning fee paid in this division 10 days earlier. It has an undeserving challenger in Edwin Diaz (who is admittedly on the run of his life, but still this fight is undeserved) and an expected winner (in Jesus Silvestre). It has also seen a loser in an interim title fight (just 7 months previous) getting another chance to fight for the interim title.



NOTE-
After this article was published the fight actually got pushed back and has been rescheduled for July 14th.
 
This morning I've been traipsing a few forums and new sites and stumbled across the rumour that Australian fighter Michael "The Great" Katsidis (28-6, 23) is being considered for a bout with Johan Perez (15-0-1, 12) the current WBA interim Light Welterweight champion.

Like every boxing fan out there I love Michael Katsidis, he's a blood and guts warrior who brings it all to the ring every time he fights. Win or lose Katsidis will always give it his all and be happy to take one one to land one why looking to land his seriously heavy shots. Sadly though I, like many others that follow the sport of boxing, know that Katsidis is incredibly shop worn, he has lost 4 of his last 5 (including his last 2) and 6 of last 11. Yet despite his current form he is some how being lined up for a "world" title fight.

Whilst Johan Perez may not be hugely well known to the wider boxing fraternity like Katsidis is he is talented and has recently been signed by Golden Boy Promotions in what is being reported as a "long term deal" (rumoured to be for 5 years). The idea seems to be to match Perez against Katsidis in the hope that boxing fans will see Perez beat the well known Katsidis on US TV and realise just how good Perez is. Problem is that not only is Katsidis a very faded fighter on a poor run but he also lacks any world WBA world ranking (as of WBA's April update), so if this bout manages to get made with the WBA's "interim" title on the lines we can assume some palms have been greased.

Hopefully the WBA will say no to this horrifically cynical match up from Golden Boy Promotions but we can't be sure at the time of writing, in fact we can never be sure with the WBA...