The extra time allotted to reach a deal between the teams surrounding Fernando Martinez and Jade Bornea proved for naught.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the IBF has put the Martinez-Bornea junior bantamweight title fight back on its purse bid schedule. A hearing is set for February 14, available to all IBF-registered promoters to determine promotional rights for the mandatory title fight.
The development comes more than two weeks after an extension was granted, as both parties convinced the sanctioning body that they could come to terms for the title fight first ordered last November 29. The original 30-day negotiation period produced little progress, which prompted the IBF to schedule a January 17 purse bid hearing.
Martinez is guided by Sean ‘Viva’ Gibbons as head of MP Promotions, while Bornea is represented by Probellum. Both sides had a sudden change of heart, asking for and receiving more time to see if they could make a fight without leaving the matter subject to the highest bidder.
That fate is now unavoidable.
Argnetina’s Martinez (15-0, 8KOs) will attempt the second defense of the IBF 115-pound title he claimed in a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory over long-reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas last February 26. Ancajas was among the sport’s longest reigning active titlists at the time of their first meeting, with the loss ending his near five-year title stay with nine successful defenses made amidst a 21-fight unbeaten streak.
Their October 8 rematch saw Martinez win in even more convincing fashion to successfully defend the title. The hope on his side was to secure a title unification bout in arguably the most loaded division in the sport, though every other divisional titleholder was booked at the time of his ordered mandatory title defense.
Lineal/WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada (44-3, 28KOs) and WBA titlist Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8KOs) are both now in the voluntary phase of their respective title reigns.
However, Martinez is not eligible to face either boxer since the ordered mandatory title defense already started the clock. IBF Rule 5.D.(b) states that “A Champion’s failure to comply with this obligation will be sufficient cause to have the [IB] Championship Committee and Board of Directors consider withdrawing recognition of the title.”
Similarly, IBF Rule 5.D.(c). contains similar language for any ordered title challenger who refuses to comply.
“The Challenger’s failure to comply with this rule will result in the Championships Committee recognizing the next leading available contender as the mandatory challenger and moving the challenger to a position below #10 in the rankings for at least six months.”
Bornea (18-0, 12KOs) has served as the mandatory challenger for more than a year and is already on record stating he will not step aside under any circumstance. The 27-year-old from General Santos City punched his way to contention with a third-round knockout of Mohammaed Obbadi on January 14 in Monterrey, Mexico.
The hope from there was to line up the Martinez-Ancajas I winner, only for a rematch to predate the ordered mandatory title defense.
A stay-busy fight was granted to Bornea, who earned a seventh-round knockout of Ivan Meneses on an August 19 show in La Paz, Mexico.
Martinez will be afforded the greater of a 65/35 split of the winning bid as the defending champion.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox