The WBA has ordered its next featherweight title fight and an elimination bout right behind it to establish the next mandatory challenger. has confirmed that the WBA has formally ordered an Otabek Kholmatov-Raymond Ford vacant featherweight title. The sanctioning body instructed both camps on Friday to being talks for a fight to fill the void left behind recent two-time title claimant Leigh Wood.

“Please consider this communication as negotiations notification for the vacant WBA featherweight world title,” WBA Championship Committee chairman Carlos Chavez noted to both parties in an official letter obtained by Boxing Scene. “Please take notice, that pursuant to [WBA] championship rule C.28, a vacant title fight shall be boxed between the two highest rated available boxers….and shall have no more than thirty (30) days to negotiate the bout.”

Kholmatov is represented by manager Alex Vaysfeld and promoter Svyatoslav Mangushev’s Miami-based Undisputed Boxing Championship outfit. Ford is signed to Matchroom Boxing and managed by Brian Peters.

Talks must conclude by no later than December 3 to avoid a purse bid hearing. Both boxers would split the winning bid 50% apiece in the event the two sides fail to reach terms.

Uzbekistan’s Kholmatov (11-0, 10KOs) has been out since a fifth-round knockout of unbeaten Thomas Patrick Ward on March 4 in Newcastle, England. The bout was his first in nearly a year, when he soundly outpointed undefeated Adranik Grigorjan last March 26 in Orlando, Florida.

Ford (14-0-1, 7KOs; 1NC) is on the verge of his first one-fight campaign as a pro. The 24-year-old southpaw from Camden, New Jersey has been out since an April 8 win over former titlist Jessie Magdaleno on April 8 in San Antonio Texas,

Prior to and after the win over Magdaleno, Ford called for a showdown versus Kholmatov, regardless of the stakes. Kholmatov was previously ordered to next face Wood, who was instead permitted to enter a voluntary title defense versus former two-time featherweight Josh Warrington. Wood scored a dramatic, 9th round knockout to retain the WBA featherweight title.

Should the bout move forward, the winner will have to face whomever prevails in a WBA-ordered title eliminator between Victor Morales and Luis Nunez. A letter was sent to both boxer’s promoters to begin negotiations.  

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox