IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby has been ordered to box his mandatory challenger, Johnny Barros, next, potentially scuppering a fight with Carl Frampton.
Selby was set to fight Barros in January, on the undercard of Frampton’s loss to Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas, but medical issues surrounding the challenger saw the fight cancelled at the last minute.
The IBF have since ordered new negotiations for the fight and revealed to Boxing News that the two sides have until next Thursday (April 13) to reach an agreement or else purse bids will be called.
However, with the situation surrounding Barros’ medical status still unclear, Selby’s team are working with the IBF to reach a resolution, which could result in the Welshman being able to box one of the division’s big names.
“We’re looking for a big fight,” Jamie Sanigar, Selby’s manager, told us. “Either way, Selby will be fighting around June or July, but we’re hoping it’s in a big fight.”
Should the IBF decide Selby does not have to fight Barros next, the most likely opponent for the 30-year-old will be former two-weight king Frampton, who is currently ranked second in the world behind Barros in the IBF rankings.
Selby’s team have already been in regular contact with Frampton’s about a potential fight, which would be relatively easy to make given they are both advised by Al Haymon. Santa Cruz – who Frampton wants a trilogy fight with – was recently ordered to face Abner Mares, taking him off the table and strenghtening the possibility of the Ulsterman fighting Selby.
Carl insists his next fight will be in Belfast and Selby has expressed his willingness to travel to the lion’s den in order to make one of the best domestic fights possible.
With WBC champion Gary Russell Jnr set to fight Oscar Escandon toward the end of May, a Selby-Frampton clash makes a lot of sense for both men.