By Jake Donovan
As the World Boxing Association anticipates its "super" 122 lb. titlist Carl Frampton vacating the title, interim champ Moises "Chucky" Flores has opted to keep the line moving.
The unbeaten boxer from Guadalajara, Mexico will return to the ring on May 7, hitting the road for the second defense of the belt he claimed last April. Flores will take on former bantamweight titlist Paulus Ambunda, with the bout to take place in the challenger's hometown of Windhoek, Namibia.
There was question as to whether Flores (24-0-1, 17KOs) would wait out Frampton's decision, as most are anticipating the recently unified titlist to vacate his pair of super bantamweight belts in favor of challenging for Leo Santa Cruz' featherweight title later this summer.
It's a move that makes sense for the unbeaten champ from Belfast, N. Ireland for a number of reasons, chief among them guaranteeing his biggest payday among any alternative option. Upon his recent 12-round win over longtime United Kingdom rival Scott Quigg in February, Frampton was left with two mandatory challengers against which to defend his titles.
Most boxing insiders have suspected he will vacate his International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt in lieu of a mandatory title defense versus Japan's Shingo Wake. The IBF has yet to be informed of such a decision, however, although the fight is due to go to purse bid by the end of March as the overdue title defense is due to take place by no later than May 26.
On the WBA, side, Frampton is obligated to face "Champion in recess", unbeaten lineal champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. Both sides were mum on such a fight pending Rigondeaux' planned UK invasion in the form of a March 12 clash with James "Jazza" Dickens. Those plans fell by the wayside when the Cuban southpaw ran into issues securing a travel visa to England from his training headquarters in Russia.
The fallout did not affect his standing with the WBA, as the eventually scrapped affair was slated as a non-title fight. In fact, Rigondeaux is still in line to reclaim his old belt in the event Frampton fails to honor such mandatory obligations. Should that occur, Rigondeaux' first order of business would to face interim title Flores, at which point the WBA will finally be left with a single 122 lb. champ.
Flores claimed his version of the belt with a 12-round split decision win over Oscar Escandon last April. His lone defense came last September, scoring a 12th round knockout of Luis Cosulito last September in a bout that served as part of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox Sports 1.
The 29-year old boxer has remained active, but is due to travel to Miami shortly after the Easter holiday. It is in the South Florida location where the bulk of his training camp will take place under the watchful eye of criminally underrated head trainer Herman Caicedo.
Ambunda (24-1, 10KOs) enjoyed a brief stay as a bantamweight titlist before conceding the crown to Tomoki Kameda in Aug. '13. The bout took place in Philippines, his lone career trip outside of Namibia. He has since won four straight, including a 12-round decision victory last December at home.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox