By Jake Donovan
Handlers for unbeaten bantamweight contender Randy Caballero hope to have an opponent selected for his future vacant title fight by sometime next week. It will take that long, only because they can’t begin until Monday.
“Once the new (monthly) ratings come out from the IBF on Monday, we can begin to go down the list and see who the top available contender is to fight Randy for the title,” noted Robert Diaz, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions.
The title became available after Paul Butler – who dethroned Stuart Hall in June – vacated less than a month later in favor of a drop down in weight to super flyweight in pursuit of a second major title. Caballero was already due a title shot after winning an elimination bout in April, stopping Kohei Oba in eight rounds on the road in Japan.
The expected route to a title was to have to travel overseas once again, with Hall based out of Britain. The mandatory title fight was supposed to come up next, but Hall was granted an exemption by the IBF for a voluntary defense in order to allow the showdown with his countryman Butler.
With the title now up for grabs, Golden Boy expects Caballero to contend before summer’s end. Negotiations still have to take place with the highest ranked available contender, and a deal to be reached before such a fight goes to purse bids.
The two highest rated contenders at the moment are Daiki Kameda and Julio Ceja. Kameda is a former 115 lb. champ from Japan, who vacated the belt in favor of a move up in weight, but who has yet to formally fight as a bantamweight.
Ceja is far more established at the weight and is riding a three-fight win streak following a failed bit in his vacant title fight with Jamie McDonnell last May. His team has even gone on record as being open to a showdown with Caballero for a title fight
; however, with two of his last three bouts being sanctioned by the WBC and his status as a Silver titlist, there remains speculation as to whether he will be eligible for a shot at another sanctioning body's title.
Once those answers are revealed, Caballero and his team are confident that a deal can be reached with the first one in line willing to fight - and all without having to stray too far from home in pursuit of his first major title.
“We have a hold on an August date in California, at Fantasy Springs Casino (in Caballero’s hometown of Indio, Calif.),” Diaz reveals. “Once we go through the list and come up with the leading contender to fight Randy, we will do everything we can to bring the fight here and give Randy the chance to win a world title in his hometown.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox