by Elisinio Castillo

The World Boxing Association (WBA) have issued a decision, based on a ruling from their Championships Committee, to strip Brian Castano of the WBA "regular" junior middleweight title.

The decision came because Castano did not sign the contract to fight mandatory challenger Michel Soro, a fight he had to carry out immediately.

As's Jake Donovan reported last week, there was a contractual dispute which made Castano walk away from the fight.

Castano’s management team, headed by Sebastian Contursi alleged that “French promoter Univent refused to deposit Brian Castaño’s official purse into an escrow account beforehand and submit proof that they hired the services of anti-doping agency VADA.”

Univent, headed by longtime promoter Sebastien Acaries secured the rights to the rematch after winning a WBA-mandated purse bid. Acaries submitted a winning bid of $810,770, more than doubling the $350,000 put up by TGB Promotions, whom represents Castano on behalf of adviser Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

Castano (15-0-1, 11KOs), who already beat Soro in 2017, would have to face his former foe on his home soil in France. In the first bout, there was a legal battle to get Castano paid - so obviously they did not trust the other side.

The WBA stated - "a champion knows that he must defend his title regularly, remain active and follow the instructions of the WBA in terms of title defenses. Because of that, the Committee decided that the title should be vacant."

The WBA's ruling was unexpected, considering Castano made a decision to vacate the belt last week - but a belt is not officially considered vacant until the boxer submits his decision in writing to the sanctioning body.

Soro, as a mandatory challenger and holder of the WBA Gold title at 154 pounds, has been ordered by the sanctioning body to face the number two rated boxer in the division, Erislandy Lara.

Lara (25-3-3, 14 KOs), a former unified champion, last fought to a twelve round split draw with Castano in March. He returns on August 31 against Ramon Alvarez in Minneapolis.

The WBA's "super" champion at 154 is Julian Williams, who also holds the IBF, IBO titles.