Cuban former amateur standout and 2x Olympic gold medalist, Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10ko), – widely considered one of the best fighters P4P in the world – has this week been stripped of his WBO super-bantamweight title for inactivity by the sanctioning body.
Rigondeaux, who is still WBA (super) 122 lb champion, hasn’t defended the title since last December’s fight with Hisashi Amagasa in Japan, and the decision was taken unanimously by the WBO’s 28 strong championship committee – at their annual convention in Florida – to strip the Cuban given he still doesn’t have a fight scheduled.
“Unfortunately we had to deal today with the topic of Rigondeaux, who over 31 months has only made three fights,” said WBO president Francisco Valcarcel.
“He has not made any announcement on when he will fight again. We do not know what the reasons are [for his inactivity] and we can not punish 15 other fighters that are in the rankings to protect a champion – regardless of how good he is.
“For boxing purists, Rigondeaux is one of the most extraordinary boxers you can see. But there is a responsibility to those ranked under the WBO. The title is not something that belongs to the champion but to the entire sport and every member of the sanctioning body that is rated has a right to fight for it.
“For us, we feel sorry stripping him as world champion but we must enforce the rules for inactivity. The title has to be declared vacant and in this case the champion has made only three defences in almost three years.”
The WBO will now order a clash between Mexican #1 Cesar Juarez (17-3, 13 KOs) and ‘Filipino Flash’, Nonito Donaire (35-3, 23 KOs) who is at #2 in order to contest the vacant title.