Demetrius Andrade finally has a date set—only to determine his next fight, rather than when it will actually take place.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, a purse bid hearing has been ordered by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to determine promotional rights for Andrade’s middleweight title defense versus mandatory challenger Liam Williams. A change of scenery comes with the session, as it will take place February 10 at British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) headquarters in Cardiff, Wales.
In a letter sent to all WBO-registered promoters, the hearing will take place in the United Kingdom rather than for it to be monitored from WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico “due to COVID-19. [T] he Committee has requested the assistance of the British Boxing Board of Control to preside proceedings in accordance with WBO Rules and Regulations. Mr. Robert Smith will be presiding.
“Any additional information, please visit our website at www.wboboxing.com or contact the WBO main office.”
The move also accommodates the lead promoters for both boxers. Andrade is represented by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, while Williams fights under Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions banner, the two entities representing the leading promotional outfits in the U.K.
The fight was initially ordered last March prior to the start of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, only for the two fighters to temporarily head their separate ways for approved interim bouts.
Williams (23-2-1, 18KOs) managed a 1st round knockout of Andrew Robinson last October, running the Welshman’s current win streak to seven in a row, all inside the distance since moving up from junior middleweight.
Andrade wasn’t quite as fortunate, as a planned non-title fight scheduled for last November fell through after Dusty Hernandez-Harrison tested positive for COVID. The unexpected development left Providence’s Andrade (29-0, 18KOs) out of the ring since a 9th round stoppage of Ireland’s Luke Keeler last January in Miami.
The hope following that bout was for Andrade to secure better opposition and more lucrative opportunities, whether at middleweight or super middleweight. Instead, he will head into the fourth defense of his middleweight title reign which began with a 12-round shutout of unbeaten Walter Kautondokwa, who was a late replacement in a vacant title fight after Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) was stripped of the belt due to testing positive for the banned substance oxilofrine.
Saunders has since claimed the WBO 168-pound title, with loose discussions of Andrade possibly moving up in weight to renew plans for such a fight. England’s Saunders will instead enter a three-belt unification bout with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (54-1-2, 36KOs), the reigning pound-for-pound king and WBC/WBA super middleweight titlist who first faces Turkey’s Avni Yildirim in a Feb. 27 mandatory title defense in Miami.
Instead, Andrade was left without an alternative plan upon the mandatory title fight being reordered by the WBO this past January. The 15-day negotiation period expired on Jan. 29th, with talks barely getting off the ground and now subject to the highest bidder to determine when and where they will finally meet.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox