Action Images/Reuters/Ina Fassbender
SHANNON BRIGGS has been ordered to fight Fres Oquendo for the WBA’s vacant secondary heavyweight title.
The order was made on January 2 and both parties have 30 days from that date to reach or deal, or else the fight goes to purse bids, which would result in a 50/50 split.
Despite having not fought since his points loss to Ruslan Chagaev in July 2014, Puerto Rican Oquendo has been included in the WBA title muddle due to a court order he was granted after a lengthy legal battle.
The title was previously held by Lucas Browne – who stopped Chagaev last year – however the Australian failed two drug tests (both of which he disputes) and has since been stripped of the ‘regular’ belt.
The WBA selected Briggs, 45, and Oquendo, 43, as they are the two highest ranked available fighters in their ratings, with Briggs at fourth and Oquendo one place behind him. The winner will have to fight Alexander Ustinov.
The WBA’s legitimate heavyweight title will be contested by Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitscho on April 29. This latest development is a part of the WBA’s effort to reduce the number of their ‘world’ titles in each weight division to just one.
Luis Ortiz is currently the WBA’s No 1 challenger and the Joshua-Klitschko victor is set to be ordered to face him next.
In 2016, Briggs was hoping to fight returning two-weight world champion David Haye, and boxed on one of his undercards in order to set up the fight, however Haye then signed to face WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew on March 4.