And then there were two...belts.
Jermell Charlo today vacated his IBF junior middleweight title after a purse bid for a fight against Bakhram Murtazaliev was canceled.
Charlo, the former undisputed junior middleweight champion, lost his WBO junior middleweight title the minute the bell rang for him to face Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in a fight he got outclassed and outsized in. The WBO promptly gave that title to Tim Tszyu, who was the interim WBO junior middleweight champion. Now, Charlo only holds the WBC and WBA junior middleweight titles as the IBF has followed suit with the WBO, making Charlo have just that much less leverage in the sport of boxing.
Charlo was mandated to fight Bakhram Murtazaliev for an IBF title defense, but it is a quite confusing saga. Murtazaliev was the number-one contender dating back to prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but has taken a step aside money multiple unification bouts to happen. Four years later, Murazaliev and his team, led by his promoter Egis Klimas, and promoter Main Events are now looking to see him in a world title fight.
The news does not come as a shock as Murtazaliev is not a notable name and Charlo after the Canelo fight let it be known he was looking for big-money fights after this fight. Murtazaliev is not a household name, which is often directly correlated to a big money fight.
Looking at the rankings, Jack Culcay, a tremendous amateur who has proved to be a solid world-class professional is ranked number two in the division, and Erickson Lubin is ranked number three.
It is believed and assumed that Murtazaliev and Culcay will make the fight happen for the vacant IBF junior middleweight world title given they don't really have any other better options.
Muratazaliev, 30-year-old, has fought four times since being the mandatory challenger for Jermell Charlo's IBF junior middleweight title all of which took place on the Premier Boxing Champions undercards, against rather unheralded opponents. His most recent win came a year ago over Roberto Valenzuela Jr., on the undercard of Frank Martin versus Michel Rivera.
Culcay is riding an eight-fight win streak since losing to Sergiy Derevyanchenko in 2019. All of Culcay's bouts since that loss have taken place in Germany. Culcay is now 38-years-old.