More than six months after previously agreeing to terms and three separate working dates, a fight between George Kambosos Jr. and Lee Selby remains in limbo and now subject to third-party intervention.
A long-ago ordered title eliminator between the two highest rated International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight contenders is now heading to a purse bid hearing, sources inform BoxingScene.com. The bout was agreed upon back in February, only to endure two separate postponements due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the threat of a cancellation over a suggested purse reduction.
The matter is now back in the hands of the sanctioning body who first called for the bout.
"On December 19, 2019 the IBF ordered # 3 ranked Lightweight Contender George Kambosos, Jr. and # 4 ranked Lightweight contender Lee Selby to begin negotiations for an Elimination Bout for the # 1 and Mandatory ranking in the Lightweight division," Daryl J. Peoples, president of the IBF noted in an official letter to all registered promoters on Thursday, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. "An agreement could not be reached within the time frame set forth by the IBF.
"The IBF is ordering a Purse Bid in these offices on Tuesday, September 1, 2020."
The appeal of such a fight is that the winner will be first in line for the now scheduled World lightweight championship between unbeaten IBF titlist Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12KOs) and unified WBA/WBO titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 11KOs), which is tentatively set to take place October 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kambosos (18-0, 10KOs) earned his place in line for a shot at the lightweight title on the undercard of Lopez's official coronation. The unbeaten contender from Sydney, Australia outlasted former titlist Mickey Bey over 10 rounds last December at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout took place hours before Lopez violently snatched the IBF crown with a 2nd round knockout of exiting titlist Richard Commey.
Mere days later came the order from the IBF for Kambosos to enter talks with Selby (28-2, 9KOs), a former featherweight title claimant from Barry, Wales who has since established himself as a lightweight contender. Selby claimed two wins at the new weight in 2019, outpointing Omar Douglas over 12 rounds last February and then going on to top former three-division title claimant Ricky Burns last October. Both wins took place at the O2 Arena in London.
The threat of a purse bid hearing was previously removed when representatives for Kambosos (Hall of Fame promoter Lou DiBella and manager Peter Kahn) and Selby (Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Boxing) were able to work out a deal before the imposed deadline. The fight was due to take place May 9 at Motorpoint Arena in Cardifff, Wales, only for the event to be postponed due to the ongoing global health crisis.
Hearn and the Matchroom team spent most of the spring working feverishly to salvage all of its previously scheduled events in the United Kingdom. With that came a new offered fight date for this fight, which was targeted for July 11 and then pushed back to October 3 in order to give the event a chance to take place with fans in attendance.
Since then has come a request for both sides to take a paycut, with the absence of a live gate impacting resources. As previously reported by BoxingScene.com contributor Dan Rafael, Kambosos and his team were not at all pleased with the concept of accepting a $100,000 payday from an earlier guaranteed $150,000 fight purse. It was suggested at the time that the move meant the fight was cancelled altogether, though not at all the case.
As the highest ranked available contender, Kambosos' team sought protection from the IBF to ensure a title eliminator was still in play, regardless of the opponent. The argument was posed that the refusal to move forward with the revised offer was a breach of the original contract which allowed both sides to previously offer a purse bid hearing.
The IBF's latest ruling suggests at least a default on agreed-upon terms, thus placing the responsibility back in the hands of the New Jersey-based sanctioning body.
The September 1 purse bid hearing will be open to all IBF-registered promoters, per the usual stipulations.
"At the time of the bid, promoters must remit a check to the IBF in the amount of $5,000.00, a non-refundable participation fee," notes Peoples. "You must also submit at that time a check representing 10% of the total amount of the bid. Within 5 business days following the purse bid procedure, the winning promoter must forward another check to this office representing 10% of the bid, for a total of 20% of the total amount bid."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox