WBA orders 147lbs tournament between Ugas, Stanionis, James and Butaev

As part of its initiative to deliver one world title holder in every division, the WBA has ordered a mini-welterweight tournament to discover its sole champion.

After upsetting eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last month, current WBA Super title holder Yordenis Ugas must meet Lithuania’s No.1 contender Eimantas Stanionis with the winner facing either WBA Regular champion Jamal James or Russian contender Radzhab Butaev who clash in the other semi-final.

The WBA ruled that a single title holder should be decided no later than March 31, 2022.

James, from Minneapolis, was previously upgraded from WBA Interim champion to Regular belt holder in February whilst Butaev is owed a title shot after a 2019 loss against Alexander Besputin in a Regular title bout was altered to a No Contest when the latter tested positive for the banned substance Lingandrol.

The sanctioning body ended its much-maligned three-tier world title system (Super, Regular and Interim) after the controversial outcome in the WBA Interim 147lbs title fight between Gabriel Maestre and Mykal Fox, who lost a decision despite appearing to win clearly. Interim world titles were subsequently dissolved as the WBA sought to clarify its world championship status in every division.

Main image: Yordenis Ugas and trainer Ismael Salas. Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions.