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Alberto Puello Gets Replaced In Rolly Romero Bout Following Failed Drug Test

Alberto Puello Gets Replaced In Rolly Romero Bout Following Failed Drug Test featured image
Alberto Puello's career has temporarily been left in limbo after testing positive for Clomiphene just a month before his scheduled fight with Rolly Romero. (Photo by Sean Michael Ham/PBC)

WBA Super Lightweight champion Alberto Puello was set to defend his title next week on May 13th against former Lightweight contender Rolando “Rolly” Romero, but the Dominican will now be watching Romero from the sidelines after being pulled out of his match due testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Their fight that was scheduled to take place in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (in Las Vegas) will still continue, but Venezuelan contender Ismael Barroso will now be in the ring with Romero as he effectively replaces Puello.

Alberto Puello (21-0, 10 KO’s) had captured the then-vacant WBA world title last year in August against Botirzhon Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KO’s) by winning through a split-decision. His May 13th match against Rolly Romero (14-1, 12 KO’s) would see the Venezuelan defend his title for the first time, but he was suspended not long after it was discovered on April 19th that he had tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug which has been confirmed to be clomiphene ― the same substance that British Welterweight Conor Benn had been tested positive for half a year ago.

Rolando Romero will fortunately still be able to fight on May 13th following Alberto Puello’s suspension and forced removal from his match with Romero. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Ismael Barroso (24-3-2, 22 KO’s), who was set to fight on the exact same card on that night, was quickly chosen as Romero’s replacement opponent given his preparation and readiness to fight on May 13th, and the fact he is currently the #1-ranked contender on the WBA’s Super Lightweight rankings.

Following the positive drug test, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ― who regulated the fight as it was set to occur in Nevada ― slammed Alberto Puello with a suspension that made it impossible for him to compete on the planned date of May 13. Ismael Barroso will now be headlining the card with Rolly Romero after originally being scheduled for just the non-televised portion of the event’s undercard.

Ismael Barroso, the #1 contender on the WBA’s 140 pound rankings, will fully ready to fight Rolly Romero as he was already scheduled to fight on the same card. (Photo by Leigh Dawney/Getty Images)

Puello will still retain his title unless the “B” sample of his drug test also comes back negative. If tested positive, Alberto Puello will further be stripped immediately of his title and undergo a full ban from the sport that can range from a minimum of six months to over a year. If negative, however, his suspension will be lifted on May 17th and he will be allowed to compete as normal as the WBA Super Lightweight champion.

There is even the distinct possibility of the title being made available for this weekend on May 13th for the fight between Rolly Romero and Ismael Barroso, but that is heavily dependent on whether Puello’s “B” sample returns a negative this week before May 13th.

While the Romero and Barroso might be fighting for a world title next, given their current rankings on the WBA’s 140-pound ranking boards ― respectively #5 and #1, the victor will likely gain an instant opportunity to fight for the WBA title in the near future anyway. Barroso himself was already tipped to face the winner between Puello and Romero as he was the #1 contender, and a win in his case would not see his position change for a future title bout ― especially if the title is made vacant.

American contender Rolly Romero, whose last match was a gruesome knockout loss against Gervonta “Tank” Davis (29-0, 27 KO’s), will still be in the prime position to become the #1 contender if he beats Ismael Barroso. Even if the WBA Super Lightweight title would not be vacated and made available in his match with Barroso, a win over the Venezuelan would likely seal Romero’s position as the next in line for the WBA title.