Murtazaliev-Culcay: Vacant IBF Junior Middleweight Title Fight Heads To Purse Bid

Murtazaliev-Culcay: Vacant IBF Junior Middleweight Title Fight Heads To Purse Bid

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The teams for Bakhram Murtazaliev and Jack Culcay will wait until the new year for instructions on next steps.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the ordered vacant IBF junior middleweight title fight will head to a purse bid hearing. The development comes one day after the sanctioning body-imposed deadline passed without a deal in place following a negotiation period of more than 30 days.

The only remaining issue at the moment, however, is when an actual date will be scheduled. Boxing Scene has learned that neither side has heard from the IBF, though likely due to the Friday deadline preceding a holiday weekend.

Russia’s Murtazaliev is promoted by Main Events and managed by Egis Klimas. Germany’s Culcay is promoted by AGON Sports, whose company has a history of sending fights to—and winning—purse bid hearings.

As Boxing Scene previously reported, both parties were prepared to enter talks for such a fight as the likelihood increased that Charlo (35-2-1, 19KOs) would vacate his title. Murtazaliev was the mandatory challenger since November 2019 but was offered a step-aside package multiple times to allow Charlo to further unify the divisional titles and pursue more lucrative fights.

Charlo ran out of exceptions after his failed bid versus undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (60-2-2, 39KOs) on September 30 in Las Vegas. The fight already cost him the WBO 154-pound title, which he had to give up the moment he entered the ring for the Showtime Pay-Per-View event. The WBO agreed to acknowledge him as the undisputed champion until the pre-fight introductions, at which point Tim Tszyu (23-0, 16KOs) was elevated from interim to full WBO titleholder.

Charlo still holds the WBC and WBA titles.

Murtazaliev (22-0, 15KOs) became the mandatory after a November 2019 win over Jorge Fortea in their title eliminator. He has since fought four times, all buried on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) non-televised undercards and versus non-descript competition.

Culcay (33-4, 14KOs) has won eight in a row since his return to the junior middleweight division.

The former interim titlist and full title challenger lost to Demetrius Andrade in their March 2017 vacant WBA junior middleweight title fight. A loss to then-unbeaten Maciej Sulecki seven months later sent Culcay to the middleweight division, where he won three in a row before a twelve-round loss to Sergiy Derevyanchenkon in their April 2019 IBF middleweight title eliminator in Minneapolis.

A return to 154 and to Germany has seen Culcay resurface atop the IBF rankings, though mostly versus middling opposition.

Whoever lands the rights to the fight and where they choose to stage it is of less concern to the Murtazaliev side than when it takes place. Murtazaliev is a devout Muslim and eager to fight for his first major title by no later than March 9, prior to Ramadan which is observed from March 10-April 9 in the coming year.  

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

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