By Miguel Rivera
Felix Verdejo will still remain as the WBO's mandatory challenger to the lightweight title.
Earlier this week, the current world champion Terry Flanagan announced that he was fighting hard punching Petr Petrov on April 8th in Manchester.
Verdejo also has a fight set, for February 3rd, when he faces Oliver Flores (27-2-2, 17 KO's) of Nicaragua at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in Puerto Rico.
Verdejo (22-0, 15 KO's) was scheduled to face Flanagan at the end of last year, but he was involved in a motorcycle accident last August 7th and that left him unable to enter the ring for the remainder of the year.
The sanctioning body indicates that the Flanagan-Petrov winner will have to face Verdejo in a mandatory defense.
"Flanagan asked us to make to make a voluntary defense, and because Verdejo has not yet fought - Flanagan's request was approved," said WBO President Francisco Valcárcel to Carlos Gonzalez.
Instead of facing Verdejo last year, Flanagan knocked out another Puerto Rican fighter, Orlando Cruz, in eight rounds on November 26 in Cardiff, Wales.
If Verdejo triumphs over Flores, he is scheduled to fight at Manhattan's Madison Square Garden on June 10, the eve of the Puerto Rican Parade in New York. If Flanagan wins in Manchester, he could defend his crown against Verdejo on that date.
It remains to be seen if Flanagan will head over to Verdejo's backyard for a title defense. There could be the possibility of going to a purse bid, where Flanagan's promoter, Frank Warren, would fight with his checkbook to make Verdejo travel to the UK. The usual WBO split in a mandatory fight is 60-40 in favor of the champion.