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N'Dam-Saunders Ordered By The IBF For Vacant Title

By Jake Donovan

Staying true to its word of strictly going down its list of contenders, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has ordered a vacant middleweight title fight between Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam and unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders.

N’Dam is ranked #1 by the IBF, and already on board to fight for a vacant title, regardless of the opponent. Saunders is ranked #4 by the same sanctioning body, and will have until business close on Thursday, February 12 to accept the fight.

Saunders entered the mix after #3 ranked Felix Sturm passed on the fight Monday morning. The former four-time titlist from Germany declared his intention to instead campaign in the super middleweight division, where he will pursue a long-awaited showdown with 168 lb. titlist Arthur Abraham.

“The IBF have ordered Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (versus) Billy Joe Saunders for the vacant middleweight world title,” Gary Hyde, N’Dam’s manager confirmed on Monday after being contacted by the IBF.

The title became vacant after Jermain Taylor was stripped for failure to honor his mandatory obligation (N’Dam) given his current incarceration. Taylor was arrested on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on a slew of charges, all of which violated the terms of the bond agreement from his shooting charges last summer.

The former two-time middleweight champ is undergoing neuropsychological examination, and will remain in custody–whether in jail or a mental health facility—until his court hearing, scheduled for Tuesday in Pulaski County, Arkansas.

Saunders is also the mandatory challenger for the WBO middleweight title, having agreed to step aside to allow Andy Lee an optional title defense. Lee—who won the vacant title with a stunning knockout win over Matt Korobov in December—will next defend April 11 against the belt’s previous claimant, undefeated Peter Quillin.

If Saunders agrees to fight N’Dam for the vacant IBF title prior to business close on Thursday, the two camps will have 30 days to negotiate terms, otherwise will be subject to a purse bid hearing, with the winning promoter earning the right to promote the fight.

N’Dam is with King Promotions (Michael King, not to be confused with the legendary Don King who heads Don King Productions); Saunders fights under Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions banner.

Should Saunders continue to wait in line for the WBO title, the IBF will proceed with its list of challengers before finding one available to contend for its vacant title. The next highest rated contender in its rankings would be Canada’s David Lemieux, who presently does not have a fight scheduled or is known to be in negotiations for a big fight.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Eastcoast on 02-11-2015

[QUOTE=Hougigo;15370734]Is prefer that too and honestly it'd speed up te whole unification thing and that fight would be more preferred than the others..... But that's how this b.s goes. I don't actually believe yet that they all easy to unify,…

Comment by Hougigo on 02-11-2015

[QUOTE=Cut Man;15370776]The fight in Ireland if it happens could be in Aviva Stadium Dublin [IMG]http://www.pmgroup-global.com/getattachment/912c8963-3c7c-4c91-aa56-b7e4eb1fe673/Aviva-Stadium-1.aspx?1423008000051[/IMG] Or Thomond Park Limerick [IMG]http://www.irishrugbytours.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/thomond-park-estadio.jpg[/IMG][/QUOTE] I heard lee drop Limerick a lot

Comment by Cut Man on 02-11-2015

[QUOTE=Eastcoast;15368139] Not only did Saunders get a six-figured step aside for Lee/Quillin, but he has an even larger guarantee in place to face either Lee or Quillin in July (Lee in Ireland & Quillin in…

Comment by Hougigo on 02-11-2015

[QUOTE=Eastcoast;15370720]Oh for God sake, just have Golovkin fight N'Dam for the vacant title already. The IBF is on board with the whole unification plan, get to the point and let's see a good fight. Nobody, including the nation of Australia…

Comment by Eastcoast on 02-11-2015

[QUOTE=Hougigo;15370659]yea Lemeuix is next and I heard he's going to be on the Canelo undercard... if things go smooth, he can fight in May. [B]If not.... on to #6....Soliman[/B][/QUOTE] Oh for God sake, just have Golovkin fight N'Dam for the…

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