After a lengthy stretch away from the ring, Wilfredo 'Bimbito' Mendez will have a short window to secure his next fight.

The reigning WBO strawweight titlist has been ordered by the sanctioning body to next defend versus mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi. A ten-day negotiation period has been granted by the WBO via official letter, a copy of which has been obtained by

“Please be advised that the WBO World Championship Committee hereby orders the commencement of the negotiations regarding the subject matter bout between Champion Wilfredo Mendez and Mandatory Challenger Masataka Taniguchi,” Luis Batista-Salas, chairman of the WBO Championship Committee informed both boxers. “The parties herein have ten (10) days upon receipt of this letter to negotiate and reach an agreement.

“If an accord is not reached within the time frame stated herein, a Purse Bid will be ordered pursuant to the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.”

Should the two sides fail to reach a deal by October 16, the fight will be made available to all WBO-registered promoters, provided they submit a minimum amount of $80,000 during the ordered purse bid session.

Mendez is represented by manager Raul Pastrana and Spartan Boxing. Taniguchi is promoted by Watanabe Promotions headed by Hitoshi Watanabe.

The minimum acceptable bid for the WBO Mini-Flyweight Division is $80,000.00 (Eighty Thousand Dollars). Any of the parties involved may request a purse bid procedure at any time during the negotiation process.

Mendez (16-1, 6KOs) will attempt the third defense of the WBO strawweight title he has held since a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Philippines’ Vic Saludar in August 2019. The streaking southpaw from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico—who turns 27 in November—has won seven in a row, including a repeat win over Axel Aragon Vega in their October 2019 rematch and a ninth-round stoppage of Gabriel Mendoza in his most recent title defense last February on the road in Panama City.

The lengthy inactive stretch is not by design, with Mendez’s progress hindered by the pandemic along with the lack of cooperation from his divisional peers. A scheduled title defense this past August fell apart mere days before their fight when Nicaragua’s Carlos Buitrago abruptly withdrew due to dehydration and difficulty in scaling down to the strawweight limit.  

Taniguchi (14-3, 9KOs) came up short in his lone other title challenge, a twelve-round decision to Saludar in February 2019 at Korakuen Hall in his Tokyo hometown. The 27-year-old southpaw has since won three in a row. In his most recent start, Taniguchi claimed a fifth-round stoppage win over countryman Tatsuro Nakashuma this past June also at Korakuen Hall which he has fought seven times including each of his last four starts.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox