Junior middleweight world titleholder Jarrett Hurd will be able to make his first defense against former titlist Austin Trout in September after Hurd’s request for an exception to his mandatory was approved on Thursday.
Hurd and Trout, who are both advised by Al Haymon, agreed to a deal last week, but it was contingent on getting the exception.
Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), 26, of Accokeek, Maryland, won a vacant 154-pound world title by knocking out Tony Harrison on Feb. 25 in Birmingham, Alabama, and was due to make his first defense against mandatory challenger Cedric Vitu (46-2, 19 KOs), the 31-year-old European champion from France.
However, TGB Promotions CEO Tom Brown filed a petition and paid the $20,000 consideration fee to the IBF on May 22 seeking an exception to the mandatory so Hurd could face Trout first. He gave the IBF the date of Sept. 30 for the fight with the location being New York, even though the fight likely will take place sooner and in a different location.
On June 5, the IBF received notice from Vitu promoter Kamel Messani, of MK Events, that Vitu objected to the exception being granted.
However, the IBF notified the camps by email on Thursday that the sanctioning body’s board of directors “participated in a conference call to determine whether this exception request should be granted or denied. A majority of the directors have determined that the exception to regulations should be granted to Jarrett Hurd.”
The exception came with several conditions: The fight between Hurd and Trout has to take place on or before Sept. 30; contracts for the bout must be submitted to the IBF by the close of business June 22; those contracts “shall not include any clause that will interfere with the mandatory defense”; and Hurd and Trout must agree in writing that the winner will make the mandatory defense within 90 days, or by Dec. 29, 2017, or be stripped of the title.
Trout (30-3, 17 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw from Las Cruces, New Mexico, has been out of the ring since losing a unanimous decision while challenging Jermall Charlo for the same belt in May 2016. Charlo vacated late last year and is moving up to middleweight.
Trout has faced top opposition and would be the biggest name on Hurd’s resume. Trout recorded a clear decision win against Miguel Cotto in a 2012 title defense but then lost his next two fights, decisions to Canelo Alvarez, in a very close fight, and Erislandy Lara in 2013. Trout then won four straight fights before the loss to Charlo, followed by the layoff.