Castano: Still Feel Like A Champion, Will Regain World Title Soon

Brian Castaño doesn’t need a belt around his waist to still feel like a champion.

Saturday’s showdown versus Wale Omotoso (28-4, 22KOs)—which headlines at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland (Saturday, FS1, 10:30pm ET)—will mark the first piece of ring action for the unbeaten Argentine boxer since he was forced to relinquish his secondary 154-pound title earlier this summer. Castaño has held some portion of the 154-pound title since Nov. 2016, with his reign coming to an end after withdrawing from his scheduled July rematch with Michel Soro.

“There is definitely frustration when you are stripped of your world title outside of the ring,” Castaño (15-0-1, 11KOs) told of the manner in which he was downgraded from titlist to contender. “I think it was unfair that in order to keep it I have to go to France again to face a guy like Soro that I already beat fair and square two years ago on his own soil, even though the French promoters blatantly pulled every trick to steal the win from me.”

The two collided in July 2017, with Castano (15-0-1, 11KOs) escaping with a hard-fought 12-round decision on the road in Evian les Bains, France. What he didn’t leave with, however, was his full paycheck, as his team had to go to court with the event promoters in order to ultimately receive full compensation.

“I got paid 10 months after the fight after legal action was threatened by my manager,” points out Castaño, who hasn’t fought since a 12-round draw with former titlist Erislandy Lara this past March in Brooklyn, New York. “This time around, they even refused to secure my purse in an escrow account, so I wasn’t even sure I was going to get paid.”

Poetic justice was served in Soro being left without an acceptable opponent to challenge for the vacated title in July after unbeaten Russian contender Magomed Kurbanov was unable to fight due to visa issues. Soto’s win over countryman Anderson Prestot was downgraded to a lesser-accepted title, with Castaño’s old belt winding up around the waist of Lara, who returned with a knockout win over Ramon Alvarez this past August.

With the alphabet title politics well beyond his control, the only plan now for the unbeaten 30-year old is to carry himself like a champion where it matters the most—in the ring.

“I still feel a world champion because they didn’t beat me inside the ring,” Castaño proudly believes. “And I’m sure I will (regain) that world title soon.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox