By Elisinio Castillo
Unbeaten Cuban cruiserweight contender Yunier Dorticos (20-0, 19 KO) is overjoyed after receiving the news that the World Boxing Association (WBA) made him the mandatory challenger to their division champion Denis Lebedev (28-2, 21 KO) of Russia.
The two sides have 30 days to reach an agreement or a purse bid will take place.
Dorticos saw action twice in 2015, stopping Galen Brown in one round in July and then knocked out Fulegencio Zunuga in two rounds in December.
The WBA was going to order a fight between Lebedev and WBA interim-champion Beibut Shumenov. But Shumenov is still recovering from an injury, which allowed WBA #2 Dorticos to step in for the big opportunity.
"I hope Lebedev will follow the provisions of the WBA and accepts my challenge. We hope to see him face to face in the ring. Frankly, I've been prepared for something like this for a long time,'' said Dorticós to George Ebro. "I've had my ups and downs in my career. There were times when I thought everything was over, but now I see the fruit of perseverance.''
Dorticos' promoter would like to bring Lebedev to the United States but that will be very difficult with powerful Russian businessman Andrei Ryabinski promoting him.
"We expect to receive a call from them as soon as possible and if not, we'll be fine in the negotiations,'' said Boris Arencibia, President of Caribe Promotions, who handle Dorticós. "We understand that this is a reward for years of working with our fighter. We have earned the right to go for that world title.''
Lebedev had two big defenses in 2015. He won a twelve round unanimous decision over tough Youri Kalenga in April and then came back in November to stop previously undefeated Lateef Kayode in eight rounds.