Featherweight is overdue for a unified champion
The featherweight division is arguably one of the most talented divisions in boxing. That said, the division is in need for fighters to come together to make unification bouts in 2019.
When you look at this division, the talent pool is extremely deep with viable challengers as well as highly skilled champions.
However, another year has passed without one significant unification bout which is a bit disappointing.
Each champion feels they are the best of the division. This is more of a reason why there needs to be at least two unification match-ups in 2019.
I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. There were some very good fights that took place in 2018 at featherweight. Unfortunately, inactivity and injury played a major role in the lack of any major bouts happening.
WBC CHAMPION: Gary Russell Jr. (29-1, 17KOs)
Russell Jr. is the longest reigning champion of the division by a few months; winning the belt in the first quarter of 2015. However, inactivity has been a constant plague to his career.
Defending the belt three time since 2015, he had a very good showing against undefeated challenger Joseph Diaz. He delivered a performance that reminded pundits why he’s viewed as “THE MAN” of the division.
WBA SUPER WORLD CHAMPION: Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19KOs)
Santa Cruz is a former WBC super bantamweight champion. He moved up and won the title in the summer of 2015 in an action packed bout against Abner Mares.
After two classics fights with Carl Frampton, we saw his activity drop. Additionally, he only fought once this year in a low-anticipated rematch with Mares.
Its worth noting the WBC has ordered a unification bout with Russell Jr; a fight that should be easy to make considering both are with advisor Al Haymon. The bout was almost made in December as a feature on the under-card of Wilder vs Fury, however, the fight never materialized.
WBO CHAMPION: Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19KOs)
Since winning the belt in summer of 2016, he has been active fighting quality opponents. Unfortunately, it was during the Scott Quigg fight that he suffered a broken jaw.
This incident didn’t prevent the young champion from continuing to fight and retain his title. Consequently, he would be unable to fight for the rest of the year as a result.
The all-action, fan-friendly fighter is set to return January 12, 2019. Valdez has always expressed the willingness to fight any of the other champions.
IBF WORLD CHAMPION: Josh Warrington (28-0, 6 KOs)
Winning the title after dethroning Lee Selby earlier, Warrington followed that performance with a convincing unanimous decision victory against former champion Carl Frampton.
The heavily labeled underdog in both fights pulled off huge upsets that some pundits felt is “Fighter of The Year” worthy.
The champion, not looking to slow down, has made clear his desire to unify the division in 2019, specifically calling out Valdez.
However, 3kingsboxing.com recently reported the IBF denying a request from Warrington allowing him to bypass his mandatory, Kid Galahad in order to free himself for a possible unification bout.
If either of these bouts can be made, it will bring us one step closer to undisputed; leaving no doubt who “THE MAN” is of the division!
By Garrisson Bland