Alberto Puello vs Batyr Akhmedov: WBA Vacant Title Situation!

The WBA's Tangled Web After The Title Is Left Vacant!

Collage of ALberto Puello, Batyr Akhmedov, Ismael Barroso, Regis Prograis & Sandor Martin
Alberto Puello - Credit: @AlbertoPuello13 | Batyr Akhmedov | Ismael Barroso - Credit: Golden Boy | Regis Prograis | Sandor Martin Credit: Matchroom Boxing

Puello vs Akhmedov Is Ordered While Barroso Waits & Eliminators Happen!

Often, sanctioning bodies can make things more complicated than it needs to be. Count the status of the WBA junior welterweight title as the latest example. The World Boxing Association Championship Committee has determined that Alberto Puello (20-0, 10 KOs) and Batyr Akhmedov (9-1, 8 KOs) will vie for the current vacant belt.

Puello is ranked first, and Akhmedov is ranked sixth at 140 pounds. Representatives of the two fighters have until June 25 to negotiate a fight. If both parties cannot agree to terms, a July 5 purse bid will be ordered.


You would think that would be simple enough, right? Nope! They ruled that the Puello vs Akhmedov must face their number two ranked contender, Ismael Barroso (23-3-2, 21 KOs), 90 days after their fight.

But wait, there’s more.

A title eliminator was ordered between third-ranked contender O’hara Davies (23-2, 16 KOs) and fourth-ranked challenger Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs). For those who are wondering about fifth-ranked and one-time WBA champ Regis Prograis (27-1, 23KOs), he has been named as the substitute opponent if the others are unwilling or unable to participate!

Many may ask, how does the sixth-ranked Akhmedov leapfrog the contenders ranked above him to get a title shot? This goes back to a May 17 hearing the WBA held with the representatives of the top six ranked contenders in the division. Team Akhmedov argued their charge should fight for the belt due to the fighter’s ninth-round knockout win over Barroso in August 2018.


This is the domino effect of unified champion Josh Taylor’s (19-0, 13 KOs) decision to vacate the WBA strap. From there, it seems like the sanctioning body is hellbent on creating endless ordered bouts between their top contenders.

The WBA will claim this filters things out. Boxing cynics will clap back and say this is a cheap way to garner and collect sanctioning fees. One would think that Team Barroso is outraged that a fighter ranked below them is getting a shot at the title first. Prograis has to be yelling privately to “put some respect on his name”. He’s been reduced to a floater even though he was a previous champion in the division.

This entire process will frustrate fans and pundits, who will ask, “is all this necessary?” Whatever the reasons behind their ruling, we are where we are. Hopefully, the result is that you have a clear-cut WBA champ, even though the process will leave many scratching their heads.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.1913 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for