The next title in the loaded 115-pound division is now subject to the highest bidder.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a January 17 purse bid hearing was ordered to determine promotional rights for the Fernando ‘Puma’ Martinez-Jade Bornea IBF junior bantamweight title fight. The two sides failed to reach terms within the allotted 30-day negotiation period, prompting the sanctioning body to take action.
“On November 29, 2022, the IBF ordered Fernando Martinez and Jade Bornea to begin negotiations for the IBF Jr. Bantamweight mandatory defense,” IBF president Daryl Peoples stated in a letter sent to all IBF-registered promoters, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “An agreement could not be reached within the time frame set forth by the IBF.
“The IBF is ordering a Purse Bid in these offices on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. ET.”
All participants are required to submit a $5,000 nonrefundable fee along with the bid, which is required to be presented to the IBF no later than 11:45 a.m. ET, 15 minutes prior to the session. The winning promoter will have to submit a ten percent deposit of the total amount, with another ten percent payable to the sanctioning body within five business days of the purse bid hearing.
Martinez is represented by Sean ‘Viva’ Gibbons as head of MP Promotions, while Probellum’s Harrison Whitman is the main point of contact for Bornea. Talks took place behind closed doors, though little progress was made of their free negotiation period as a purse bid always seemed inevitable.
Martinez (15-0, 8KOs) claimed the IBF belt in a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory over long-reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas on February 26 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Ancajas was among the sport’s longest reigning active titlists at the time of their first meeting, with the loss ending his near five-year title stay with nine successful defenses made amidst a 21-fight unbeaten streak.
Their October 8 rematch proved that Martinez was no one-trick wonder, delivering a more convincing win to defend the title. The hope was to secure a title unification bout, though every other belt was spoken for in terms of scheduled in-ring action. With that came the realization that an overdue mandatory versus Bornea was the inevitable next play.
Bornea (18-0, 12KOs) earned the IBF mandatory ranking following a third-round knockout of Mohammaed Obbadi on January 14 in Monterrey, Mexico. The hope from there was to line up the winner of Martinez-Ancajas I, only to have to wait as it was decided that a title fight rematch would first take place.
A stay-busy fight was granted to Bornea, a 27-year-old contender from General Santos City. The bout saw Bornea earn a seventh-round knockout of Ivan Meneses on an August 19 show in La Paz, Mexico.
The ordered title fight trumped any plans for a pursued unification bout or even an optional defense for Martinez. There were brief talks of possibly facing former four-division champion Nonito Donaire, though it never evolved beyond rumor nor were the necessary steps taken by Martinez to even request such a fight.
It mattered little once the title fight was ordered, effectively starting the clock for Martinez’s next title defense.
IBF Rule 5.D.(b) states that “A Champion’s failure to comply with this obligation will be sufficient cause to have the [IB] Championship Committee and Board of Directors consider withdrawing recognition of the title.”
Similarly, IBF Rule 5.D.(c). contains similar language for any ordered title challenger who refuses to comply.
“The Challenger’s failure to comply with this rule will result in the Championships Committee recognizing the next leading available contender as the mandatory challenger and moving the challenger to a position below #10 in the rankings for at least six months.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox