Demetrius Andrade appears to have made his choice.
The sanctioning body whose title he holds just needs it in writing.
A seemingly final extension has been granted by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) as it relates to its mandatory middleweight title fight. Andrade was previously ordered to next defend his belt versus Kazakhstan’s Janibek Alimkhanuly, though a purse bid hearing scheduled for Friday at WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico has been removed from the calendar.
Instead, a final deadline has been imposed for Providence’s Andrade (31-0, 19KOs) to either reach an agreement with Alimkhanuly or provide verified proof of a deal in place to face England’s Zach Parker. The latter bout would come with the WBO interim super middleweight title at stake, though requires verification that all parties are on board.
“Please be advised that considering the ongoing discussions between all interested parties regarding the subject matter, the WBO World Championship Committee has granted the parties a final 5 calendar day term to reach an agreement,” Gustavo Oliveiri, lead counsel for the WBO stated to all parties via official letter, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The time provided herein triggers upon issuance of this notice.
“Therefore, the Demetrius Andrade/Zhanibek Alimkhanuly purse bid scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, January 28, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. (AST) at the WBO headquarter offices is postponed effective immediately.”
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Andrade is prepared to move up in weight where he will revisit plans for a showdown with Parker. The winner of such a fight would claim the interim version of the WBO super middleweight title currently held by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs), the reigning lineal and undisputed WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO champion. Such a fight was discussed and floated to the WBO as an alternative to the mandatory middleweight title fight that was ordered last November 30. Parker—who fights under Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions banner—was vocal about such a fight, though more so publicly mocking Andrade for failing to put ink to paper.
The lack of progress both in finalizing the interim super middleweight fight and in talks between Andrade and Alimkhanuly prompted the WBO to call for a purse bid hearing for the latter. The session has been scheduled for three different dates in January, including two separate times on January 20 before being postponed by eight days due to an in-office staff member testing positive for Covid that morning.
In that time, Andrade has advanced in talks for a fight with Parker. The WBO has agreed to allot a few more days to finalize terms before additional action is taken.
“If an agreement is not reached within the time prescribed herein, purse bid proceedings will be called immediately per WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.”
Andrade previously enjoyed two title reigns at junior middleweight before moving up in weight in 2017. The unbeaten southpaw—who was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team that competed in Beijing—claimed the WBO middleweight title in October 2018, outpointing Walter Kautondokwa—a late substitute for then-unbeaten titlist Billy Joe Saunders who was stripped of his belt after testing positive for Oxilofrine during pre-fight random drug testing.
Five successful defenses have followed for Andrade, most recently in a second-round knockout of Ireland’s Jason Quigley last November 19 at SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. The DAZN-headlined title fight came one night prior to Alimkhanuly’s most recent win, an eighth-round stoppage of former secondary middleweight titlist Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam last November 20 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Andrade would not be at risk of losing his WBO title outside the ring should he next face Parker. However, he would need to win the fight and then decide whether to drop back down in weight at which point he would be mandated to next face Alimkhanuly. A decision to remain at super middleweight or even a loss to Parker would result in the WBO middleweight title being declared vacant and with Alimkhanuly to face the next highest-ranked available contender.
For now, another five days are on the clock for Andrade to formally declare his next move.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox