Boxing: Canelo Alvarez stripped of IBF title

Canelo Alvarez

Saul Canelo Alvarez has been stripped of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), Middleweight World title on Thursday, after failing to reach an agreement with promoters of his mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Canelo was ordered to fulfill his obligations as the IBF champion and fight the governing body’s No 1 ranked fighter Sergiy Derevyanchenko in his next bout, but the two parties failed to strike a deal despite extensions being made to the deadline.

However, the International Boxing Federation subsequently stripped the 29-year-old Alvarez of his IBF middleweight title after the deadline had passed.

It was a situation where there were no winners. The Mexican sensation unified his WBC and WBA ‘Super’ world titles with the IBF by outpointing Daniel Jacobs in an entertaining clash back in May. Derevyanchenko ends up not facing the superstar.

Canelo Alvarez beats Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision

Derevyanchenko loses out on Canelo fight

This would have been a big deal for Sergiy Derevyanchenko, if he had been able to fight Canelo. Instead, the Ukrainian fighter will need to fight someone else for the belt.

Canelo likely views this as a minor setback, since he’s the biggest name in the division.

DAZN — a video streaming service owned by Perform Group — had recently approved Derevyanchenko, 33, as an opponent for Canelo.

This would have led to the Mexican taking a hit on his normal $35 million per fight deal. Golden Boy Promotions attempted to work a deal with Derevyanchenko’s promoters.

Sergiy Derevyanchenko

They had several postponements of purse bids in order to try and get the fight with Derevyanchenko done. The Ukrainian’s promoters wanted to make the fight with Canelo happen, but the money wasn’t to their liking.

Whether Derevyanchenko’s management ultimately regret their decision not to take the money Golden Boy Promotions was offering is unclear.

De La Hoya hits out at IBF

The middleweight champion’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, described the IBF’s decision to take the title off him as ‘an insult to boxing’ in a tempered tirade against the organisation in which he also vowed to take legal action.

Oscar De La Hoya, Promoter of Canelo Alvarez

“We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world’s best fighter to relinquish his world title. We have been in serious negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s promoter.” he said.

“We offered his team an unprecedented amount of money for a fighter of his limited stature and limited popularity, but the truth is that I’m now certain they never had any intention of making a deal.”

“But instead they wanted to force us to relinquish Canelo’s belt. This is an insult to boxing and more importantly an insult to the boxing fans of the world. This decision validates already existing concerns about the credibility of the IBF championship.” he added.

“Canelo inherited a mandatory challenger by defeating Daniel Jacobs, the man who beat Derevyanchenko.”

“So to strip him of his title without giving him enough time to make the best fight possible is truly what is wrong with boxing, and I plan to aggressively consider all legal actions possible,” De La Hoya said.

Canelo is now expected to begin negotiations with WBO title holder Demetrius Andrade over a possible unification fight.

The blockbuster showdown against Sergey Kovalev is off the cards, after the Russian opted to go ahead with his planned title defence against Britain’s Anthony Yarde on August 24.

Derevyanchenko, meanwhile, is set to sign a deal to fight former unified champion Gennady Golovkin for the now-vacant IBF title later this year.


Chidi Nwoke.