A pair of former champs from Nicaragua have been instructed to enter talks for a future flyweight title shot.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the IBF has ordered a flyweight title elimination bout between countrymen Cristofer Rosales and Felix Alvarado. A 15-day free negotiation period has been assigned to avoid a purse bid hearing.

“Be advised that # 3 rated, Cristofer Rosales and # 4 rated Felix Alvarado are the 2 highest ranked available contenders in the IBF Flyweight division and have indicated in writing, a willingness to participate in this eliminator,” IBF Championship Committee chairman Carlos Ortiz informed representatives for both boxer in an official letter, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “In an effort to determine who the mandatory challenger will be, the IBF is ordering an elimination bout between Cristofer Rosales and Felix Alvarado for the number 1 position.

The winner will be #1 and the mandatory challenger. Negotiations should be concluded by January 27, 2023.”

The winner will become the mandatory challenger to unbeaten IBF flyweight king Sunny Edwards (19-0, 4KOs), whose name has been floated in rumors of a title unification clash with WBC champ Julio Cesar Martinez (19-2, 14KOs; 2NC).

Rosales is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, while Alvarado is represented by M&R Boxing. Interestingly, both boxers were guided to their previous title reigns by manager William Ramirez, who still has Alvarado under his wing.

Rosales punched himself back into contention following a ten-round upset win over previously unbeaten Joselito Velazquez last December 3 in Glendale, Arizona. The win was his third straight and sixth in his last seven starts for the 28-year-old Managua native since his last title fight when he was knocked out in the ninth round by Martinez in their December 2019 vacant WBC flyweight title fight in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rosales held the WBC flyweight title for less than a year, scoring a stunning ninth-round knockout of unbeaten Daigo Higa in April 2015. Just one successful defense followed before dropping a twelve-round decision to Charlie Edwards­—Sunny’s older brother—in December 2018.

Alvarado (38-3, 33KOs) was valiant in defeat in a twelve-round, unanimous decision to Sunny Edwards in their IBF flyweight title fight last November 11 in Sheffield, England. The 33-year-old from Managua snapped a 20-fight win streak dating back to 2015 with the loss in a bid to become a two-division titlist.

The shot at Edwards came after establishing himself as the mandatory challenger, a ranking he was granted in exchange for relinquishing his IBF junior flyweight title. Alvarado won the belt with a seventh-round knockout of Randy Petalcorin in their October 2018 vacant title fight. Two defenses followed along with a non-title fight (downgraded when his original title challenger bailed during fight week) before vacating the belt last March.

Per IBF Rule 9(D), neither boxer can enter talks for any other fight once a sanctioned bout Is ordered. Should either boxer abandon talks, he will be dropped below the top ten of the IBF rankings per rule 9(C).  

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