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WBO Orders Jose Ramirez/Arnold Barboza Jr. But Cling Hopes On Teofimo Lopez Coming Out Of Retirement

WBO Orders Jose Ramirez Arnold Barboza Jr. But Cling Hopes On Teofimo Lopez Coming Out Of Retirement featured image
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 13: Teofimo Lopez Jr. celebrates after defeating Pedro Campa in a junior welterweight fight at Resorts World Las Vegas on August 13, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lopez won the fight with a seventh-round TKO. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) has ordered Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr. to face each other to fight for the WBO super lightweight title that had been relinquished by Teofimo Lopez following his abrupt retirement. Despite Lopez having made clear that he is retired, the WBO has also decided to grant him an immediate title opportunity if he comes out of retirement as was made clear in a letter to Bob Arum who promotes all three aforementioned fighters.

The WBO’s mandate means that the teams of Jose Ramirez (28-1, 18 KO’s) and Arnold Barboza Jr. (28-0, 10 KO’s) will head into the standard period of negotiations, and purse bids if an agreement cannot be reached by both parties. Barboza and Ramirez are currently rated as the #1 and #2 respectively in the WBO super lightweight rankings and therefore perfectly fit the requirements to fight for the WBO world title.

As Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KO’s) is still credited as the WBO champion officially, despite his self-announced retirement, the WBO title has yet to be vacated but a resolution is expected to be made by the WBO’s committee that will finally result in the belt being relinquished.

In their letter to Arum, the WBO also stated that Teofimo Lopez would be made the mandatory to the winner between Ramirez and Barboza provided he’d come out of retirement within 12 months after the winner has been determined.

Teofimo Lopez’ last fight was on June 10th and resulted in him overcoming his pre-match underdog status to rake in an important win over former undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KO’s). Despite winning the match soundly by unanimous decision and becoming the new WBO world champion in the process, Teofimo Lopez shocked the boxing world by retiring right after his victory.

Lopez’ victory over Taylor counts as the second upset win he had after first defeating Vasyl Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KO’s) in 2020 to become the unified lightweight champion. Following a disappointing loss to George Kambosos Jr. (20-2, 10 KO’s) in 2021 that resulted in him losing all his titles, Lopez moved up to super lightweight where he fought twice before gaining an opportunity to face then-WBO champion Josh Taylor.

Despite retiring at a relatively young age, Teofimo Lopez relinquishment of his WBO title only sets the stage for two other talents to emerge as world champion in Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr. Barboza, the only one of the two contenders to sport an undefeated record, is notably one of the most exciting contenders and is currently considered the 4th best super lightweight in the world according to BoxRec, just one spot below the #3 ranked Jose Ramirez.

Ramirez, a former unified world champion, is not undefeated but has both elite-level talent and experience and will be by far Barboza Jr.’s toughest challenge if they face each other in the ring. Ramirez’ sole loss is attributed to Josh Taylor himself who subsequently became the undisputed champion after defeating Ramirez by UD in 2021.