In January, featherweight world titleholder Lee Selby walked off the stage at the weigh-in as dejected as a fighter could be.
He was on weight and ready to rumble, but had just been informed by promoter Tom Brown of TGB Promotions that his mandatory defense against Jonathan Victor Barros the next night on the Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton II undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was canceled.
All those weeks of training camp went down the drain, not to mention the payday, because Barros had tested positive for hepatitis and the Nevada State Athletic Commission would not license him to fight.
Three months later the fight is back on after TGB Promotions won a purse bid at the IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey on Thursday to gain promotional rights to the bout. TGB bid $601,000 to narrowly beat the only other bid, which was $600,000 offered by Barros promoter K.O. International.
The date and site of the bout are to be determined – it could be in the United States or in the United Kingdom — but under IBF rules Brown has 90 days to put on the fight, or by July 13. Signed contracts are due back to the IBF by April 28.
Selby, as the titleholder, is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid ($450,750) and Barros will receive 25 percent ($150,250).
“We’re happy to win the bid and look forward to the fight,” Brown said.
After the fight in January was canceled, Selby (24-1, 9 KOs), 30, of Wales, knocked out Andoni Gago, of Spain, in a nontitle junior lightweight bout on March 4 just as a way to get active.
Selby had not fought since defending his title for the second time in April 2016, when he outpointed Philadelphia’s Eric Hunter, the previous mandatory challenger.
Barros (41-4-1, 21 KOs), 33, a former world titleholder, has produced test results from his home country of Argentina that say he is no longer positive for hepatitis but it remains to be seen if the British Boxing Board of Control, which regulates British boxing, or a state commission in the United States would accept Barros’ results and license him to fight. More likely, he will have to take another test from the doctors in that jurisdiction to make sure he is clean.
With the fight against Barros mandated again, that kills the chances of Selby’s next fight being a major U.K. showdown with Northern Ireland’s Frampton, a former two-division world titleholder and the 2016 consensus fighter of the year, which had been discussed.