By Jake Donovan
For as long as he’s been the mandatory challenger, Ajose Olusegun has demanded a crack at the WBC 140 lb. title currently in the possession of Danny Garcia.
Olusegun now gets to sit back and allow justice to be served.
A May 18 purse bid has been ordered by the WBC. The two sides have exhausted the 30-day negotiations-free period and were unable to come to terms.
The bout will serve as the first defense for Garcia (, KO), who won the title with a 12-round decision over legendary former four-division titlist Erik Morales this past March.
Olusegun (30-0, 14KO) has been twice passed over for a title shot and ordered to fight in an elimination bout despite having previously served as the mandatory challenger. The unbeaten contender confirmed his status with a rousing performance over Ali Chebah last September.
Assurances were made by the WBC during their convention last December that Olusegun would be next in line for a title shot. The promise was broken when Morales was not only permitted to make an optional defense against Garcia, but that he was able to keep the fight after having to postpone due to emergency surgery to remove kidney stones.
Past history aside, Olusegun is pleased that his day is rapidly approaching.
“I’m very happy the fight is going to purse bid,” Olusegun stated to Boxingscene.com upon first hearing the news. “It’s not my first choice but I’m happy that he’s giving me my chance at fighting for the title. Now the fight is going to happen.”
There is interest in the fight in the United States, but not to where any major American networks are blocking out time spaces. The fight is also not the first on Garcia’s to-do list, or that of his promoter Golden Boy Promotions for that matter.
However, Garcia will be forced to make a major decision by May 18 – mainly whether or not he wants to hold onto the title. Chances are, vacating one belt will allow him to secure a fight elsewhere within the Golden Boy family.
Should he choose to hold onto the title and go through with the fight, Garcia might want to update his passport. There is no guarantee that Golden Boy or any other U.S.-based promoter will win the purse bid, at least not if Olusegun’s plans come to fruition.
“A couple of promoters are going to bid on the fight. There’s a possibility of the fight landing in Nigeria,” insists Olusegun, who fought for his native country in the 2000 Olympics but since relocated to the United Kingdom. “We’re working with investors who plan on bidding very high. Millions of fans in Nigeria would love to see the fight there.”
History suggests that fighters who have benefited from American cable network dollars tend to move on to other opportunities that allow them to stay closer to home. Olusegun puts Garcia’s honor to the test, believing that standing in front of him exists a real world champion.
“If I’m willing to fight in the U.S., why can’t he fight me in Nigeria,” Olusegun theorizes. “Paulie Malignaggi went to Ukraine and won the world title. Whichever it way it is, I don’t care. I would like to fight in Nigeria, but I mainly want to fight for the title. That’s first.”
Should Golden Boy or any other promoter win the purse bid, Olusegun will pack his suitcase and gladly travel to wherever the fight lands. The size of the paycheck or the location of the fight is of no concern to a fighter who for far too long has simply sought justice.
“I won’t always have the chance to win the world title, so that’s very important to me,” Olusegun points out. “If they put it in Garcia’s bedroom, I’ll go to his house and fight him there. If they want to fight, I’m ready. All I want is my fair shot.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]