The IBF has taken matters into its own hands to help fill the vacancy left behind the 140-pound division. has confirmed that a purse bid hearing has been ordered to determine promotional rights for the long-delayed vacant IBF junior welterweight title fight between Subriel Matias and Jeremias Ponce. The twice-ordered fight will now be made available to the highest bidder during a scheduled November 15 hearing from IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey.

“On August 23, 2022, the IBF ordered Jeremias Ponce and Subriel Matias to begin negotiations for the IBF Jr. Welterweight Vacant Title,” IBF president Daryl Peoples stated to all IBF-registered promoters in an official letter, a copy of which was obtained by “An agreement could not be reached within the time frame set forth by the IBF.  The IBF is ordering a Purse Bid in these offices on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 12:00 PM EST. Bids must be submitted at 11:45 AM EST to be promptly opened at 12:00 PM.”

The minimum accepted bid for the fight is $50,000, with all participants required to submit a nonrefundable $5,000 fee.

The declaration made by the sanctioning body contradicted previous claims that the fight was once on course to take place on an October 15 Fox Sports Pay-Per-View undercard from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Matias’ team was led to believe this was the case, with the Puerto Rican knockout artist even revealing earlier this fall that the fight date fell through due to Argentina’s Ponce’s inability to secure a travel visa in time to appear on the card.

“I want to report that I will not be fighting on October 15 due to visa issues (with Ponce),” Matias revealed on September 10 via social media. “I will now continue training; it is out of my hands.”

It is now apparently back in the hands of the IBF, who’ve waited literally all year for this fight to materialize.

The belt has been vacant since August 23, when Josh Taylor (19-0, 13KOs) relinquished to instead focus on a rematch with England’s Jack Catterall which was since pushed back to next February.

The pairing of Matias and Ponce initially began as the final leg of a four-man box-off ordered in 2021.

Ponce (30-0, 20KOs) and Matias (18-1, 18KOs) both advanced to the top two positions in the IBF junior welterweight rankings following knockout wins in separate semifinal eliminators late last spring. Matias became the number-two position following an eighth-round stoppage of Batyrzhan Jukembayev last May 29 in Carson, California. Ponce followed suit two weeks later with a tenth-round stoppage of Lewis Ritson last June 12 in Newcastle, England.

The belief at the time was that a final eliminator would next take place, though both teams were able to reach an agreement amongst each other and with the IBF’s blessing to wait out Taylor’s then-scheduled WBO mandatory with Catterall. Scotland’s Taylor had just fully unified the division at the time, defending his WBA/IBF titles while winning the WBC/WBO belts in a twelve-round unanimous decision over Jose Ramirez in their May 22 undisputed clash between undefeated and unified titlists.

Taylor suffered a training camp injury which pushed back his fight with Catterall from last December 18 to this past February 26, furthering speculation that he would eventually vacate the IBF title. Taylor barely escaped with his unbeaten record and championship reign intact, surviving an eighth-round knockdown to claim a disputed split decision win over Catterall.

The fight outcome drew outrage and demand for an immediate rematch. To Taylor’s credit, he was always on board with facing Catterall for a second time before defending his title against anyone else in the division. That decision has led to him having to relinquish the WBA, WBC and IBF belts, in that order.

Matias has fought just once during that time, scoring a ninth-round stoppage of Petros Ananyan on January 22 in Atlantic City. The win was significant in avenging his lone career defeat when he dropped a ten-round decision in their February 2020 clash in Las Vegas, having since entered a current three-fight win streak.

Ponce has fought and won twice since becoming the IBF number-one contender at junior welterweight, earning a pair of early knockout wins in Hamburg, Germany.  

The two were previously instructed to enter talks for an approved interim title fight, which lingered for months. It was believed that a deal was reached but merely waiting on a date, only for the IBF to never receive such paperwork and thus moved forward in ordering a Taylor-Ponce mandatory title fight in July. Those talks went nowhere, with a purse bid scheduled for August 23 but canceled one day prior, fueling speculation that Taylor would vacate the title.

Similarly, a fight has yet to come of what amounts to ten weeks’ worth of talks and planning despite suggestions that the bout was merely stuck in a holding pattern.

Barring any further delays, resolution can finally come of the matter by mid-November. The highest bidder must provide a fight date and location, along with a ten percent deposit of the winning bid. An additional ten-percent must be submitted to the IBF within five business days following the bid, per IBF Rule 10.D (Deposits Submitted With Bid).

Failure to provide said funds will automatically void the original bid and permit the sanctioning body to grant promotional rights to the next highest bidder.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox