WBA Orders Lebedev-Kalenga Cruiserweight Title Fight

By Jake Donovan

Denis Lebedev is currently penciled in for a March 21 cruiserweight title defense against an opponent to be determined in Moscow, Russia. Unless his handlers convince the World Boxing Association (WBA) otherwise, that opponent will be Youri Kalenga.

The WBA ordered a 30-day period for the two sides to begin negotiations, with a purse bid hearing set for February 20 in the event a deal cannot be reached.

“We have communicated with both fighters and their respective teams,” confirmed WBA spokesperson Hilmar Rojas. “[F]rom this moment begins the 30-day negotiation period. Lebedev and Kalenga will have until February 20, 2015 to reach an agreement. Otherwise, in accordance with the rules, a purse bid hearing will be held to determine the date and venue of the mandatory (title) fight.”

Both fighters are recognized titlists in the wonderful world of multiple sanctioning bodies and their flare for creating several “championship” layers. Lebedev is deemed the “regular” cruiserweight champion in the eyes of the WBA, while Kalenga is recognized as its interim titlist. 

Lebedev (26-2, 20KOs) was reinstated as WBA cruiserweight champ when Guillermo Jones failed his post-fight drug test following an 11th round knockout win over the Russian banger in May ’13. A rematch scheduled for last May was canceled mere hours before the ring walk, when Jones once again came up dirty for banned substances during pre-fight random drug testing.

Lebedev has since defended his title, scoring a 2nd round knockout of previously unbeaten Pawel Kolodiziej last September. The bout was his lone piece of ring action since the tainted loss to Jones, but another victory took place last summer in a court of law when he and his promoter, World of Boxing won its lawsuit versus Jones and Hall of Fame promoter Don King.

Kalenga (21-1, 14KOs) gained interim title status following a 12-round points win over Mateusz Masternak last June in Monte Carlo. The 26-year old Congolese cruiserweight came up big in his first defense, stopping previously unbeaten Denton Daley in the 12th and final round of their title fight last November on the road in Ontario, Canada.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Hougigo on 01-19-2015

Kalenga had that good win over Masternak... although I still do wonder if he'll gas

Comment by Loque-san on 01-19-2015

Good fight. Youri Kalenga is a legit title challenger. Given both men's style, it should be a war.

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