Rolando Romero will not have the luxury of selecting his next title challenger.

The recently crowned WBA junior welterweight titlist was instructed to enter a 30-day negotiation period with England’s Ohara Davies for a mandatory title defense that was officially ordered Monday. The sanctioning body informed both parties of the ruling, thus killing plans for any other fight eyed by Romero and his team.

“Please consider this communication as a notification for mandatory negotiations for the WBA Super

Lightweight division,” WBA Championship Committee chairman Carlos Chavez informed Romero and promoter Mayweather Promotions in an official written ruling obtained by “WBA rules entitle the President and the Championships Committee at their discretion to define a mandatory period. Pursuant to WBA Rule C. 12 “A boxer who obtains a title in an eliminatory fight for a vacant title must make his initial title defense as follow: Non-Heavyweight division: Within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date the title was obtained.

“Since you won the title on May 13, 2023, your next mandatory championship fight should take place no later than September 12, 2023, and it shall be against the official contender, Ohara Davies. Pursuant to WBA rule C.13- Bout Limitations – the champion may not fight a boxer who is not the official challenger within sixty (60) days of the expiration of the mandatory defense period.”

The two sides will have until June 29 to reach terms or else a purse bid will be ordered to determine promotional rights. Romero is officially represented by Mayweather Promotions—whose CEO, Leonard Ellerbe, was copied on the ruling. Davies is managed by Lee Eaton’s Lets Go Management.

Romero (15-1, 13KOs) claimed the vacant WBA 140-pound title with a controversial ninth-round stoppage of Venezuela’s Ismael Barroso on May 13 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. He was originally due to face then-defending titleholder Alberto Puello (21-0, 10KO), who was forced out of the Showtime main event after he tested positive for the banned substance Clomiphene.

Puello—who remains under temporary suspension and was downgraded to ‘Champion in Recess’—was replaced by Barroso, who dropped Las Vega’ Romero in round three and led on all three scorecards through eight rounds. The fateful round nine saw referee Tony Weeks first credit Romero with a knockdown that was caused by a push and then stopped the fight despite Barroso still clearheaded and having not absorbed a single punch during the final exchange.

Nearly all viewers deemed the stoppage as one of the worst calls in recent memory. The 40-year-old Barroso has yet to receive his justice for a fight where he was initially bypassed for Romero who was approved as a voluntary title challenger.

Because Romero was not a mandatory challenger and won a vacant title, he is now on the hook to honor against the next leading contender. That puts to rest—at least in a title sense—any plans to next defend versus Ryan Garcia (23-1, 19KOs). The hypothetical fight was floated by both boxers and met with favorable reaction, though with the lack of awareness regarding the already established and announced mandatory challenger process for this belt.

Davies (25-2, 18KOs) was guaranteed the next shot at the WBA title currently in Romero’s possession. He earned the mandatory ranking with a ninth-round knockout of countryman Lewis Ritson in a March 4 title eliminator in Ritson’s hometown of Newcastle, England. The win was his seventh in a row since a twelve-round, unanimous decision defeat to countryman Jack Catterall who was unbeaten at the time of their October 2018 clash.

The lone other defeat suffered by Davies came in a seventh-round stoppage of Josh Taylor in their July 2017 battle of unbeaten prospects.

Romero’s win over Barroso was his first since July 2021. His lone other fight in that span was a sixth-round knockout defeat to Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis in their WBA ‘Regular’ lightweight mandatory title fight last May 28 in Brooklyn, New York. Romero called out Garcia and for a rematch with Davis following his May 13 title win over Barroso, though the WBA has since reminded him of the ruling that allowed him to compete for the title in the first place.

Either side has the right to instruct the WBA to order an immediate purse bid at any point during negotiations, a tactic normally enforced when it is believed the other side is willing to operate in good faith. Should that scenario arise, Romero is entitled to the favorable end of a 75/25 split of the winning bid.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox