By Vadim Pushkin
Russian heavyweight boxer Alexander Ustinov (33-1, 24KOs) will fight to hold for the "regular" championship of the World Boxing Association (WBA) on the 25th of February against either Shannon Briggs or Fres Oquendo, according to the Russian boxer's manager Vladimir Hryunov.
Ustinov has been in limbo ever since the WBA's planned heavyweight tournament fell apart. The sanctioning body ordered a tournament to establish a single WBA world champion in the division, but entire bracket system went in the toilet due to injuries, failed drug tests and fighters dropping out.
Ustinov, inactive since December 2015, was ordered to fight then WBA interim-champion Luis Ortiz. The fight fell through after both sides were unable to agree on the drug testing terms.
As it stands right now, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko will battle for the vacant WBA "super" title on April 29th. The winner of that fight will have to make a mandatory defense against Ortiz. Briggs had been ordered to face Lucas Browne for the vacant WBA "regular" title, but Browne failed a pre-fight drug test.
"Now the situation is somewhat frozen due to the Christmas holidays," said Hryunov to Oleg Bogatov. "Alexander needs to fight for the WBA regular title, and the opponent will or Briggs or Oquendo depending on the decision taken by the WBA. I spoke to our promoter Frank Warren in London and he confirmed the working date for the fight is February 25th, but it remains to be seen who will become the opponent for Alexander."
"The city which will host the match is not determined yet. I can say that a purse bid for the organization of the fight will not happen - because both boxers have been sent a proposal, and they accepted it. Alexander has already started to prepare for the battle that will take place in February. The sparring partners will come into play for the next stage of his training, at the end of January."