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Crowley Withdraws From Jaron Ennis Fight Due To Eye Issues, Who’s Next For Ennis?

Crowley Withdraws From Jaron Ennis Fight Due To Eye Issues featured image
Jaron Ennis (R) will be in search of a new opponent after IBF mandatory challenger Cody Crowley was forced to pull out of their July 13th bout due to health concerns. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jaron Ennis will need to find a new opponent for July 13th as Cody Crowley has pulled out after the Canadian was not medically cleared following an eye examination, deeming him unfit to participate next month against Ennis. With Crowley now out of the match-up, all eyes will be on the International Boxing Federation (IBF) who first ordered Ennis and Crowley to face each other and are now expected to pick a suitable new challenger for Ennis to face.

According to ESPN, Cody Crowley (22-0, 9 KO’s) had claimed his eyes had not fully healed from an eye surgery performed last November, spurring him to withdraw from the mandated fight to face IBF welterweight champion Jaron Ennis (31-0, 28 KO’s) to allow his eyes to fully recover. The decision now puts the entire event in jeopardy, with Ennis still poised to headline the event.

Matchroom will now start the process of attempting to find a suitable opponent for Jaron Ennis who is still set to return to Philadelphia in a homecoming bout where he can legitimize his promotion to world champion and expand his growing reputation within the sport. However, the sanctioning body’s welterweight rankings as of April this year do not seem to possess a genuine contender deserving of or well-suited for an opportunity to fight for a world title―as can be witnessed when observing the IBF’s rankings from #4 to #10.

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The IBF’s welterweight rankings as of April 2024.

American #4 contender Giovani Santillan (32-1, 17 KO’s) would be unsuited given he is currently suspended until November 14 by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) after being knocked out by countryman Brian Norman Jr (26-0, 20 KO’s) several weeks ago.

#5-rated contender, former unified 147 lbs champion Errol Spence Jr (28-1, 22 KO’s) would perhaps have been suitable if it wasn’t already speculated that he would be fighting 154 lbs WBC and WBO champion Sebastian Fundora (21-1-1, 13 KO’s) in October; suggesting Spence’s career at welterweight is over even if the fight with Fundora never commenced.

At #6, Japanese contender Jin Sasaki (17-1-1, 16 KO’s) could have been a potential world title challenger for Jaron Ennis, but his last fight occurred on May 16th. Having fought around the same time as Santillan, Sasaki’s recent activity suggests he may not be ready on time for July 13th to properly prepare for a world title bout.

Standing at #7 is Ukrainian contender Karen Chukhadzhian (24-2, 13 KO’s) whose recent activity, combined with his experience in fighting Ennis for the IBF interim title―a title that Ennis claimed and eventually led him to be promoted to full champion, perhaps makes him the most suitable contender at this point time, but like Santillan and Sasaki, the Chukhadzhian has recently fought and should be given the time to prepare appropriately for a world title match.

However, with Chukhadzhian having competed in a IBF final eliminator1 against British contender Harry Scarff for this very opportunity―as opposed to Cody Crowley who actually pulled out of a IBF final eliminator to seek opportunities with the World Boxing Council (WBC), he remains the best available candidate for Ennis on paper as he was already in line to face the winner of Ennis-Crowley.

The #8 and #9 contenders, Venezuelan contender Roiman Villa (26-2, 24 KO’s) and Harry Scarff (13-3, 3 KO’s) respectively, would not qualify for obvious reasons with Villa’s last fight having already occurred against Ennis and resulted in him losing, while Scarff’s recent battle against Chukhadzhian makes him unsuitable.

The #10 contender, British fighter Ekow Essuman (19-1, 7 KO’s), aside from being unsuitable due to losing to Harry Scarff last year, is currently scheduled to fight the week after Ennis July 13th fight, automatically disqualifying him from contention.

Given both Crowley and Chukhadzhian―respectively acknowledged as the current and the next IBF mandatory challenger―will not be able to face Jaron Ennis, the IBF can allow Ennis a voluntary title defense to allow him to fight anyone in the top 15, but the choices for title challengers will likely see him pitted against a contender that would not be considered a genuine contender otherwise.

However, with Jaron Ennis eager to fight in Philadelphia and reignite the same city that had been known to be one of the more prominent boxing cities in the United States, the IBF champion will likely have to make due with an opponent he will be expected to defeat easily; which will not help him improve his reputation or standing within the boxing world.

Matchroom will be happy with whatever opponent is available―whether they’re genuine contenders or not, as the British-promotion will not be too eager to cancel an event they staged as a homecoming for Jaron Ennis. Given Matchroom’s proclivity in finding decent substitute opponents, the promotion is expected to make an announcement on who Ennis will fight next in the upcoming days.

  1. fights that determine the mandatory challenger of a sanctioning body ↩︎