By Jake Donovan
Negotiations are officially underway for a vacant super bantamweight title fight between Japan’s Shingo Wake and unbeaten Dominican knockout artist Jonathan Guzman.
The aforementioned bout was officially ordered by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), whose super bantamweight title became available after Carl Frampton severed all ties to the division in pursuit of a shot at featherweight beltholder Leo Santa Cruz.
The respective camps for Wake and Guzman will have 30 days to button up talks and agree to terms, which would limit the promotion to parties directly involved in such talks. Should they fail to do so, a purse bid hearing will be held on June 2, at which point any IBF-registered promoter would be eligible to secure the rights to the title fight.
Neither boxer is permitted to take an interim fight. Should either participant become injured or unavailable for said bout, the IBF will offer the opportunity to next highest-ranked contender.
“Any boxer who is contracted with a promoter, a network, or a state, tribal or national commission to take another fight, or who is ill, injured, under a legal impediment which could prevent the bout from taking place in the opinion of the IBF/USBA, or on suspension at the time the Championships Chairman and the President order a bout under this rule shall be considered unavailable.” Lindsey Tucker, IBF championships chairman informed both camps. “We would then move to the next available contender. Neither fighter can take another fight until this fight for the vacant title is concluded.”
Wake (20-4-2, 12KOs) has been awaiting this opportunity for nearly a year. The streaking contender from Japan earned a mandatory ranking following a 12-round unanimous decision win over Thailand’s Mike Tawatchai last June in Tokyo. He has since taken on a stay busy fight earlier this year, but waited out a unification bout between Frampton and Scott Quigg in hopes of landing the winner.
Instead, he settles on fighting for a vacant title against a red hot contender on the rise.
Guzman (21-0, 21KOs) entered the mix with a bang, scoring an 8th round stoppage over Mexico’s Daniel Rosas on April 29, in a bout that aired live on Spike TV.
The win comes on the heels of a 9th round stoppage of Danny Aquino last October, which was carried by NBC Sports Network. The two bouts mark the deepest he’s ever had to go in a prizefight to earn a knockout, having previously never been past six rounds.
In knocking out Rosas, Guzman highlighted what was a tremendous weekend for his promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, whose four boxers in action last Friday and Saturday all score knockout victories, three of which were nationally televised. Off-camera beneath Guzman’s showcase in Atlantic City, highly decorated amateur star Abraham "Super" Nova enjoyed a sensational pro debut with a 1st round knockout of fellow debutant Weusi Johnson.
One night later, Jorge Lara and David Benavidez both preserved their unbeaten record with highlight reel knockouts live in primetime on free-to-air Fox.
While the future is bright for the other three knockout winners, Guzman’s big score came right on time. The bout was originally meant as a semifinal eliminator, but with his title status expedited given the recent vacancy.
“I am looking forward to getting my superstar KO artist Jonathan Guzman his first title shot later this year,” said Lewkowicz. “I give my congratulations to all my other fighters who won by knockout this past weekend. Jorge Lara is back in a big way and headed for a world championship after beating Montiel. David Benavidez is going to become the youngest Mexican super middleweight champion in boxing history and Abraham Nova let the world know he's here with his power punching.
“I am proud to be promoting every one of these fighters.”
Such pride will be thoroughly communicated with Wake’s camp for the next 30 days or so.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow him on his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2