By Jake Donovan
Michel Soro is now on his third opponent in a bid to capture a secondary title.
The 31-year old super welterweight contender will now take on France’s Anderson Prestot, who steps in on just one day’s notice for the World Boxing Association (WBA) “Regular” super welterweight title Saturday evening at Palais des Sports in Marseille, France.
Prestot (23-1, 12KOs) replaces unbeaten Magomed Kurbanov, who was unable to sort out visa issues in time to make the trip from his native Russia.
“After a delay in obtaining his visa, the Russian Magomed Kurbanov finally refused on Friday to go to France and fight Michael Soro for the world championship,” event handler Univent Production offered through an official press statement. “Despite this last-minute change, the show will go on this Saturday.”
Kurbanov (17-0, 11KOs) himself was a late replacement for unbeaten former titlist Brian Castaño, who withdrew from his planned July 20 rematch with Soro and vacated the title altogether due to a dispute over a request to have fight purses deposited in an escrow account beforehand, along with written proof of adequate random drug testing.
Castaño won a hard-fought decision in their first scheduled fight in July 2017 but had to take Soro’s team to court in order to get paid. The matter wasn’t resolved until close to the end of the year, prompting the unbeaten Argentine to take the necessary steps to ensure that history didn’t repeat itself.
The moment it threatened to be the case, he bailed on the fight and his near two-year title reign, leaving Soro to contend for the vacant belt.
Kurbanov accepted the assignment exactly one month ago, as the unbeaten Russian was prepared to bid for his first title shot. It will have to come another day, however, as travel issues left him stranded in Russia until it was too late to make the trip and adequately recover in time for Saturday’s fight.
“Our team just received our travel visas today,” German Titov, Kurbanov’s promoter told BoxingScene.com. “It’s a crazy situation. Magomed is distraught. He was ready to shock the world this weekend and bring home the world championship.”
That leads to Prestot getting the assignment, if only because he was the only accessible opponent both on short notice and whom would be accepted by the WBA.
"In light of this unforeseen and unexpected situation, we have been forced—within the WBA rules—to name a new opponent who falls within the WBA rankings and is ready to fight for the WBA World Championship against Michel Soro” explained promoter Sébastien Acariès. “Therefore, Anderson Prestot was named, as he was on his way to fighting for a world championship by 2020.
“This fight is just as exciting with these two boxers of high caliber, which is more a Franco-French fight for a world title as France has known for many years.”
Soro comes in having won his last three starts since his split decision loss to Castaño. The 31-year old from Villeurbanne, France by way of Côte D’Ivoire fights for the first time since last December, when he scored a 2nd round knockout of Greg Vendetti in a planned stay busy fight.
Instead it’s a seven-month gap between fights—and three opponents just to get here.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox