Demetrius Andrade will revisit plans to challenge for a title in a third weight division.
It will come at the expense of his current title reign ending with a whimper.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Providence’s Andrade will no longer move forward with an ordered WBO middleweight title consolidation clash with interim titleholder Janibek Alimkhanuly. The sanctioning body declared in May that the fight was to take place by mid-November, re-ordering a 30-day negotiation period on July 20 for the two to work out terms.
The deadline came and went without a deal in place. BoxingScene.com has learned that Andrade’s team will instead return to previous plans of moving up to super middleweight in a hoped-for interim title fight with 168-pound mandatory challenger Zach Parker (22-0, 16KOs). Such sanctioning is not in place as this goes to publish, as it requires approval from the WBO.
Meanwhile, Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8KOs) is left as the lone WBO middleweight title holder. The unbeaten Kazakhstani claimed the interim belt in a destructive second-round knockout of England’s Danny Dignum on May 21 in Las Vegas.
The same date was originally to host an Andrade-Parker interim super middleweight title fight in Parker’s hometown of Derby, England. Andrade (31-0, 19KOs) withdrew from the bout on May 2 due to injury, with the WBO removing sanctioning soon thereafter and ordering the unbeaten southpaw to next defend his middleweight title against Alimkhanuly.
The mandatory WBO middleweight title fight was first ordered last November, shortly after Andrade and Alimkhanuly posted knockout wins one day apart.
Andrade stopped Ireland’s Jason Quigley in the second round of their November 19 DAZN main event in Manchester, New Hampshire. The feat marked his fifth successful defense for Andrarde, whose reign extended back to a twelve-round win over Walter Kautondokwa in their October 2018 vacant title fight. Andrade previously held the WBO and WBA junior middleweight titles on separate occasions, all of which followed his tour as a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing team that competed in Beijing.
Alimkhanuly was next in line for the 34-year-old southpaw following consecutive eighth-round stoppage wins over former secondary WBA middleweight titleholders. He stopped Rob Brant in one-sided fashion last June, before tearing through Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam last November 20. It was just in time for the WBO to instruct the pair of unbeaten middleweights to begin talks for the ordered title fight.
Nothing came of the negotiation period, nor did several attempts to schedule a purse bid hearing that was met with multiple delays and extensions. It ended with both fighters agreeing to enter separate interim title fights, which was Andrade’s plan from the start of the ordered talks. A fight with Parker would have determined the next WBO mandatory challenger for undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs).
Should a fight between Andrade and Parker materialize and come with the WBO’s blessing for an interim title at stake, the winner will be in line to challenge for the main title by May 2023. The WBO previously declared that Alvarez’s win over then-unbeaten IBF titlist Caleb Plant to fully unify the division last November was accepted as honoring his mandatory obligation, resetting the clock at 18 months to make his next such defense.
Alvarez is due to face Gennadiy Golovkin in their trilogy clash on September 17 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The WBA and WBC both have interim titlists (David Morrell and David Benavidez, respectively) awaiting the outcome and eager to plead their case to get the next crack at the main prize.
Andrade hopes to enter that mix as well but has a long road ahead to get to that point—and one that will come without his current title in tow.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox