Arsen Goulamirian and Aleksei Egorov are back in each other’s sights.
The pair of unbeaten cruiserweights are due to meet in a mandatory title fight that was reordered by the WBA on Tuesday. Goulamirian will make his first title defense since the pandemic, and also first since gaining sole recognition as the WBC cruiserweight titlist after secondary titleholder Ryad Merhy relinquished his reign earlier this month.
“Egorov is ranked number two and was chosen after Ryad Merhy, who was originally scheduled to face Goulamirian to decide the sole champion of the category, decided not to fulfill the bout,” Carlos Chavez, chairman of the WBA Championship Committee stated in a letter to both camps, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “Now, the champion must face his mandatory challenger, having gone two years and eight months without doing so and having been granted two optional defenses during that time.
“Egorov earned the right to challenge the world champion due to the fact that he was the [cruiserweight] Gold champion and that status put him as the mandatory challenger.”
The WBA has assigned a 15-day negotiation period dating back to August 23 when the fight was first ordered. A deal must be reached by September 7 to avoid a purse bid hearing—which was the case the last time this fight was in play. Fittingly, the order on Monday came on the one-year anniversary of a purse bid hearing that took place for this very fight, which was to have taken place last December 11.
Goulamirian (26-0, 18KOs) tested positive for Covid, the result learned on the eve of the fight which was canceled outright. It marked the second straight time that Goulamirian—an Armenian boxer who fights out of France and often trains in Big Bear, California—withdrew from a scheduled title fight during the pandemic, having previously suffered a rib injury ahead of a November 2020 clash with Russia’s Yuri Kashinsky.
All told, Goulamirian last defended his title in a ninth-round knockout of unbeaten Constantin Bejenaru in Marseille, France. The entirety of Goulamirian’s career has taken place in France and Belgium since his May 2011 pro debut.
Egorov (11-0, 7KOs) has been out of the ring since outpointing Vasil Ducar in an attempted stay-busy fight last March in Kazan, Russia. The 31-year-old from Obninsk, Russia claimed the “Gold” title following a third-round knockout of Roman Golovashchenko in June 2019. He was officially declared as the mandatory challenger to Goulamirian’s title earlier this year, with the fight first ordered last February 12. The round of talks originally carried a March 13 deadline to reach terms.
Events didn’t quite work out that way, though with the WBA coming back around to order a purse bid last August. World of Boxing—Egorov’s promoter—won with a winning bid of $210,000, only for Egorov to be left standing at the altar due to Goulamirian’s positive Covid test coming too late in the promotion to secure a replacement.
A tighter turnaround comes with this batch of negotiations, which follows Belgium’s Merhy’s departure from the title picture and the division altogether.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox