By Igor Lazorin, tass
WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev is under threat of losing his remaining world title.
World Boxing Association (WBA) President Gilberto Mendoza has confirmed that both Beibut Shumenov and Yunier Dorticos are petitioning the WBA to strip Lebedev of his belt.
Lebdev holds the WBA's "super" version of the title, while Shumenov has the "regular" belt and Dorticos holds the "interim" title. The WBA has ordered Shumenov and Dorticos to face each other in a final eliminator, with the winner then taking on Lebedev. But they would rather see Lebedev get stripped and fight each other for the vacant WBA super title
The main point of argument for Dorticos and Shumenov is that Lebedev suffered a twelve round decision loss earlier this month to undefeated Murat Gassiev in Moscow.
Gassiev was the mandatory challenger to Lebedev under the IBF. Traditionally both world titles would have been at stake in the contest. But Lebedev and his team petitioned the WBA to view the fight with Gassiev as a non-title encounter - which guaranteed him at least one world title regardless of the result. The WBA approved his request.
There is some talk of a rematch, but Gassiev and his handlers will not even consider that option unless Lebedev stakes his WBA title in the fight.
Mendoza is considering the requests from Shumenov and Dorticos, but he also cautions that Lebedev losing his last fight is not necessarily an immediate reason to strip him.
Mendoza reflects on the outcome years ago, when Carlos Baldomir upset Zab Judah, but only captured the WBC title - while the IBF belt was returned to Judah, who then defended it against Floyd Mayweather Jr. a few months later. In that situation, Baldomir was not awarded the IBF belt because he refused to pay them a sanctioning fee. But a similar scenario happened last year when Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather, who had the WBA/WBC welterweight titles, captured Pacquiao's WBO world title. The WBO title became vacant after Mayweather refused to pay the organization a sanctioning fee.