The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee has ordered a cruiserweight title fight between their "regular" champion Beibut Shumenov and challenger Ryad Merhy.
Through a statement issued out on Monday, November 30th, both parties were informed that according to the WBA's Championships Rule 11, the champion must defend the title against the official contender every nine months (9) from the date he became the champion.
Shumenov has been champion since July 7th, 2018 and his mandatory defense should have taken place on April 6th, 2019 and it is overdue for more than a year. That’s why he must immediately face Merhy, who is the interim champion and thus the official challenger.
The WBA's Rule C.13, on bout limitations, points that the champion may not fight a boxer who is not the official challenger within sixty (60) days of the expiration of the mandatory defense period.
Under the rules, the WBA's committee ordered a period of 30 days to finalize the negotiations of the fight between Shumenov and Merhy - starting on December 1st - and that period will end on December 31, 2020.
If no agreement is reached or should either party refuses to sign the contract, the WBA's Championships Committee may open the fight to purse bids.
Shumenov (18-2, 12 KOs) has not fought since July of 2018, when he picked up a stoppage win over Hizni Altunkaya - and that was his first fight in over two years.
The 29-year-old Merhy (29-1, 24 KOs) was in action back in October, when he knocked out undefeated Imre Szello.