By Elisinio Castillo
Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KO) is expected to put himself back in line for a world title, this time in the junior welterweight division, with an April IBF eliminator being worked on.
According to the Cuban former world champion, there are ongoing talks to stage a final eliminator against Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KO), and the winner would become the mandatory challenger to current IBF junior welterweight world champion Julius Indongo.
Indongo, who also holds the IBO title, is facing WBA champion Ricky Burns, also in April, in a world title unification.
If all goes well, Barthelemy and Relikh will collide on April 22. Barthelemy believes Burns will defeat Indongo, and that will set up a future fight between the two of them.
"I'm very happy because in my first super lightweight fight I'm going to be in an eliminator,'' Barthelemy said to George Ebro. "Ricky Burns refused to get into a ring with me, but when I become the mandatory challenger - he will not have anywhere to hide."
If 2016, Barthelemy left the lightweight division with a win against former world champion Mickey Bey.
With world titles at 130 and 135 pounds, Barthelemy wants to become the first Cuban professional fighter with three divisional belts - Joel Casamayor won two at 130 and 135 pounds.
"For me it's a great accomplishment, because it's glory that would not only be for me but for the whole of Cuba," added Barthelemy. "It's easy to say, but winning three world titles in different divisions requires a ton of extreme sacrifice. "
Relikh suffered a tough decision loss to Burns in October 2016 in Scotland.
Relikh, 26, spent much of his professional career in Manchester and benefited from the tremendous momentum that boxing has in the UK. His mentor and coach is the renowned Ricky Hatton.
For his part, Barthelemy continues under the orders of the prestigious Ismael Salas, who now also deals with another member of the family with the arrival of Leducho Barthelemy at the gym.