As previously reported, super middleweight David Morrell received a gift he didn't expect.

The Cuban fighter was elevated from interim-champion to the "regular" category within the World Boxing Association, according to an order from the president of the sanctioning body, Gilberto Mendoza.

The "regular" title became vacant last month, when Canelo Alvarez dominated Callum Smith over twelve rounds to capture the WBA's "super" title at 168-pounds. Canelo had held the "regular" title since blowing out Rocky Fielding in December 2018.

But with this new status there comes greater responsibilities for Morrell.

The WBA has ordered Morrell (4-0, 3 KOs) to make a mandatory defense against battle tested veteran John Ryder.

Morrell is overwhelmed by the WBA's decision to elevate him - and he's vowed to do battle with Ryder.

"I can't believe this is happening," said Morell to George Ebro. "Being elevated to regular champion motivates me to move forward and secure more victories. I have a major challenge ahead of me and I intend to defend my title at all costs.''

As decreed by the WBA, Morrell's representatives, Warriors Boxing Promotions, have 30 days to formalize the fight with Ryder and his representatives from Matchroom Boxing, led by Eddie Hearn in England.

Warriors Boxing executive, Luis DeCubas, expects much bigger things from Morrell. 

"David Morell is an off-the-box talent and over time you'll see his enormous talent,'" said DeCubas,. "We're confident that he will be able to defeat Ryder, because he possesses superior qualities within the ring.''

An amateur youth world champion, Morell first captured the interim-title in 2020 when he overcame the more experienced Lennox Allen by unanimous decision on August 8 and then beat down Mike Gavronski for a stoppage win in Los Angeles last December.