WBO Not Sanctioning Alycia Baumgardner v Elhem Mekhaled as Undisputed
The undisputed junior lightweight showdown between unified champion Alycia “The Bomb” Baumgardner (13-1, 7KO) and Elhem Mekhaled (15-1, 3KO) is getting some pushback from the WBO.
Baumgardner has made becoming undisputed a top priority since defeating former unified champion Mikaela Mayer in October 2022. The WBA helped speed up the process by ordering their champion, Hyun-Mi Choi, to face the unified champion. The sanctioning body ordered a purse bid after the teams failed to reach an agreement.
Choi was forced to pull out of the fight due to an injury and has since been named WBA champion in recess. Looking to keep the undisputed contest alive, the organization pushed in #3 ranked Mekhaled as a replacement.
NOT SO FAST!
The unified champion is set to grab the undisputed crown on February 4, or is she? The WBO has issued a recent statement that they will not be recognizing the bout as undisputed.
“This bout is not sanctioned as undisputed considering that the legitimate WBA Super Champion in Jr lightweight division is Ms. Hyun-Mi Choi, whose status is currently Champion in Recess.
The World Boxing Organization’s institutional policy pertaining to sanction approval of unification and/or undisputed championship bout is exclusively limited to the legitimate champions per division. In this case, Ms. Choi is the sole and only WBA female Jr lightweight champion recognized by the WBO.”
The WBA can easily resolve this problem by downgrading Choi to regular champion status, making the Super title free to be added to the fight. In 2021, the organization bumped then-WBA junior middleweight champion Hanna Gabriels down, allowing unified champion Claressa Shields and IBF champion Marie Eve Dicaire to fight for undisputed.
It will be interesting to see what happens next as the fight date grows closer.
By: Bo Bland