By Miguel Rivera
One door closes and another door opens.
Tough Mexican boxer Ray Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs) announced that he was notified by his promoter, Top Rank, that he will fight for the vacant World Boxing Organization lightweight title on February 3 against an opponent to be confirmed and a venue to be finalized.
His fight will come down on the same day Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramírez is scheduled to defend the super middleweight title of the WBO. Both fights will be televised by ESPN as part of their long-term content deal with Top Rank.
The news came down to Beltran after the WBO revealed that undefeated world champion Terry Flanagan had relinquished his title in order to make a jump to the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds.
Among the possible opponents for Beltran include Russia's Roman Andreev, Namibian Paulus Moses, Japan's Nihito Arakawa, UK fighter Craig Evans or even Puerto Rican contender Felix Verdejo.
"It's already a fact, they have not given me details but confirmed to me earlier today [that I will be fighting for a title]," Beltran said in a brief talk with ESPN Deportes.
Beltran has won five in a row since losing a twelve round decision to Terence Crawford in November 2014.
In his next fight, Beltran actually captured the vacant WBO title with a knockout of Takahiro Aoh in Las Vegas. The fight became a no-contest after Beltran failed a post-fight drug test.
Beltran has a brutal knockout of Jonathan Maicelo in May and then followed it up with a decision win over Bryan Vasquez in August.
He became the WBO's mandatory challenger after Verdejo was removed by the sanctioning due to inactivity.
Flanagan, who held the title, was not very interested in facing Beltran. Instead, he was involved in serious negotiations to face WBA champion Jorge Linares in a unification clash tapped for the first quarter of 2018. But that deal never got done and Flanagan decided to move up instead.