The World Boxing Organisation has formally ordered their respective super-lightweight world champion, Josh Taylor, to defend his world title against the former unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. The fight was ordered overnight on the 15th of February and the respective parties have been given ten days to agree on terms before purse bids are called. Both fighters are represented promotionally by Bob Arum’s Top Rank. The order of Taylor v Lopez comes following the continued postponements of Taylor’s voluntary defence and rematch with domestic rival Catterall
A letter which was was sent to Top Rank and then published online on the WBO’s official documents page reads as follows.
Please be advised that in the wake of the recent postponement of the Josh Taylor/Jack Catterall
WBO voluntary title defence, the WBO World Championship Committee is hereby ordering the
commencement of negotiations for the Mandatory title defence obligation in the Jr. Welterweight
division between Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez, Jr.
The camps herein are granted 10 days upon issuance of this notice to reach an agreement or purse bid proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests. The minimum bid for the Jr. Welterweight Division is $150,000 (One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars). Any of the parties involved may request a purse bid ceremony at any time during the negotiation process.
Lastly, this Committee reserves its right to issue all further rulings deemed necessary, helpful, and convenient to accomplish the purposes, policies, and intent of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests, including serving the best interests in the WBO Jr. Welterweight division.
Luis Batista Salas, Esq.
Talks have been ongoing between apparently between the pair which resulted in Jack Catteral seemingly admitting defeat in his quest to rematch Taylor following his controversial defeat in February 2022 via points. Many observers felt that Jack has done more than enough to get the nod on the cards and claim undisputed glory in the process. Since then Taylor has vacated three titles (WBC, WBA & IBF) and has seen his time disrupted by injuries which have delayed the Catterall rematch for twelve months. Jack will finally be making a ring return on the 25th of March in Manchester, featuring on Lawrence Okolie’s WBO world cruiserweight title defence against David Light.
Teofimo Lopez has competed at super-lightweight in his last two contests. Firstly Lopez defeated Pedro Campa in Las Vegas back in August and secured a seventh-round stoppage. Lopez’s last outing came in December against Sandor Martin at Madison Square Garden. The fight had served as a final eliminator on behalf on the WBC who had ordered that their Champion, Regis Prograis, had to fight two mandatories after he claimed the vacant world title. Teofimo defeated Martin via split decision after recovering from a second-round knockdown in a performance which had flattered to deceive.
Despite Taylor-Lopez being given ten days to agree to terms before purse bids it is believed a deal is relatively close with a date speculated of May 27th and is set to be hosted in Edinburgh, Scotland.