By Carlos Boogs
The World Boxing Organization has stripped undefeated Demetrius Andrade of the WBO junior middleweight title, based mostly on his inactivity as a fighter. Andrade has not fought in over a year. Their full decision can be found below.
BoxingScene.com reported on Thursday night that Andrade's promoters filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against Roc Nation Sports for contract interference.
WHEREAS, on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, Demetrius Andrade earned a split-decision victory over Vanes Martirosyan to become the WBO Jr. Middleweight Champion of the World; and,
WHEREAS, on Saturday, June 6, 2014 at the Barclays Center in New York— almost seven months after winning the vacant WBO Jr. Middleweight— Andrade defeated mandatory challenger Brian Rose via TKO in round 7 to retain his title; and,
WHEREAS, on September 10, 2014, this WBO World Championship Committee ruled in Mr. Andrade’s favor upon receiving a petition to allow him to move up in weight and immediately vie for the vacant WBO Middleweight Championship of the World against Matt Korobov, giving the parties fifteen (15) days to reach an agreement; and,
WHEREAS, at the end of that negotiation period on September 25, 2014, it came to our knowledge that Mr. Andrade was interested in defending his Jr. Middleweight title and, therefore, wanted to stay within his division and no longer compete for Middleweight title; and,
WHEREAS, Mr. Andrade was next scheduled to defend his belt against Jermell Charlo on December 13, 2014 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the agreement was never finalized and Andrade pulled out of the fight on November 17, 2014; and,
WHEREAS, on January 23, 2015, this WBO World Championship Committee wrote to Messrs. Pelullo and De Guardia— Andrade’s co-promoters— again, advising them that parties had thirty (30) days to negotiate an agreement for the WBO Jr. Middleweight Championship bout between Mr. Andrade and Jermell Charlo and stating that a purse bid would be ordered if an accord was not reached within the time frame; and,
WHEREAS, WBO President Valcarcel subsequently received email correspondence from Mr. Pelullo on February 19, 2015 notifying the WBO that Charlo elected not to fight Andrade, but that Stephen Espinoza of Showtime was looking into Erislandy Lara as a challenger to Andrade for a date in April or in any case no later than May; and,
WHEREAS, on April 15, 2015 WBO President Valcarcel once more wrote to Mr. Andrade’s promoters, asking for confirmation of his plans and updating that while the WBO was originally willing to allow a voluntary defense of the belt, the Jr. Middleweight division could no longer be kept inactive and that a mandatory defense was in order; and,
WHEREAS, Mr. Pelullo responded to the April 15 communication and advised that he was to meet with Mr. Andrade during that same week setting June 29 as a potential date to face Liam Smith in a voluntary defense, a fight that we were willing to sanction; and,
WHEREAS, President Valcarcel again followed up with Andrade’s promoters on May 12, 2015 advising them of Section 20 of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests; i.e. PROCEDURE WHEN A TITLE IS DECLARED VACANT, and requesting that they provide the WBO with contracts for the next Andrade bout within a period of forty-eight (48) hours; and,
WHEREAS, On July 15th 2015 this WBO World Championship Committee sent a letter giving Demetrius Andrade a period of ten (10) days or until July 25th 2015 to show cause as to why Mr. Andrade has not defended his WBO Jr. Middleweight Championship of the World under the terms of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests; and,
WHEREAS, on July 20th, the WBO received an email requesting “an additional 10 days to August 4th to respond to the letter [to show cause as to why Mr. Andrade’s title should not be vacated] as a lot of things are in motion that cannot be divulged at this time;” and,
WHEREAS, the WBO Championship Committee granted Mr. Andrade and his promoters an additional five (5) days or until July 30th as the final day to show cause, but adamantly expressed that further extensions would be granted; and,
WHEREAS, on July 29, 2015 the WBO World Championship Committee received a letter from Arthur Pelullo, from Banner Promotions, on behalf of Star Boxing’s Joe De Guardia and their fighter, Demetrius Andrade, advising us that “[t]his past fall, a rival promotional company misled and convinced Demetrius into not taking the Charlo fight that was scheduled for December 13, 2014 on Showtime in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand” and that “[t]hat company tortuously interfered with the exclusive promotional agreement that Banner Promotions and Star Boxing have with Demetrius Andrade, which is still in full force and effect;” and,
WHEREAS, Pelullo further advised us that a complaint was filed against the other promotional company for alleged tortious interference with an existing contractual relationship; and,
WHEREAS, this WBO World Championship Committee has thoroughly reviewed all of the documents received on July 29, 2015, including letters from Mr. Pelullo, Andrade’s manager Edward Farris, Andrade himself, as well as the complaint filed in the New York Supreme Court, we are not moved to consider the reasons contained therein to constitute “just cause” for Mr. Andrade’s failure to comply with our Regulations of World Championship Contests; and,
WHEREAS, the WBO has been more than lenient with Mr. Andrade, but he has clearly been inactive and in the context of all of the above has defended his title only once— against Brian Rose— since first obtaining it 19 months ago on November 9, 2013; and,
WHEREAS, the WBO World Championship Committee has full authority, as per our WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests to resolve this matter and may, within our powers and discretion according to Section 1 (b) (7) of the aforementioned Regulations, “recommend to the President and the Executive Committee that a Title should be vacated if a Champion fails to comply with the WBO World Championship Rules (Emphasis added); and,
WHEREAS, Section 1 (b) 21 provides that a title may be vacated regardless of cause or fault if the Champion has not defended within a nine (9) month period (Emphasis added); and,
WHEREAS, Section 20 outlines the procedure when a title is declared vacant, stating that “[a] World Championship may be lost for breach of contract, for disability to fight or make required weight, inactivity, or for any other reason established in the regulations that govern World Championships (Emphasis added);” and,
WHEREAS, the WBO acknowledges Mr. Andrade’s qualities as a fighter, his outstanding amateur background as a two-time national Golden Gloves champion, winner of the world championships in 2007, that he represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics; and,
WHEREAS, the WBO further recognizes Mr. Andrade’s potential as a professional fighter, his ability to be a champion for a long time, and that he may, in fact, have been misadvised during his WBO Championship reign, we are invariably bound by and must enforce our Rules and Regulations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the WBO World Championship Committee according to our Regulations that:
The WBO World Championship Committee is allowed no other alternative but to recommend that the WBO Executive Committee immediately cease to recognize Mr. Demetrius Andrade as the WBO Jr. Middleweight Champion of the World and vacate his title, for failing to comply with our WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.
This is a final decision of the WBO World Championship Committee. The affected WBO Participant may appeal to the Complaint and Grievance Committee, pursuant to WBO World Championship Section 34, which as per Rule 3(e) of the WBO Appeals Regulation, must be submitted in writing to the WBO President within fourteen (14) days of the date of this decision as its sole and exclusive remedy.
Dated in San Juan, Puerto Rico on this 31st day of July, 2015
Luis Batista Salas, Esq. Chairman WBO Championship Committee