Junto Nakatani and Angel Acosta have waited all month on a new date for their ordered showdown.
The matter is now the subject of a purse bid, as the WBO has called for a June 1 hearing to determine promotional rights for the flyweight title fight. The session will be held at WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the sanctioning body announced Wednesday.
The hearing will be open to all WBO-registered promoters, with a minimum bid amount of $80,000 required in order to obtain promotional rights.
Nakatani (21-0, 16KOs) was due to face Acosta on May 29, in what would have marked his first title defense. The bout was due to take place in Osaka, Japan, only for COVID restrictions to cancel the nation’s boxing schedule as a whole.
Previous talks suggested plans to reschedule the bout for this summer, though a firm date did not materialize in time to satisfy the demands of the WBO.
Nakatani claimed the belt in an 8th round knockout of Philippines’ Giemel Magramo last November in Tokyo. The 23-year-old Japanese southpaw inherited a mandatory challenge with the win, with San Juan’s Acosta in the wings.
All parties were on board for an explosive springtime collision, only for aggressive social distancing measures in Japan ruining such plans. Acosta’s attempt to submit paperwork in time to travel overseas were met with resistance before rejected outright after a state of emergency was declared in Japan in late April.
The nation has taken extreme measures to contain the coronavirus, in hopes of moving forward with plans to host the already delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Acosta (22-2, 21KOs) previously served as a WBO junior flyweight titlist, with his reign coming to a controversial end in a questionable 12th round stoppage versus Mexico’s Elwin Soto in June 2019. The bout was Acosta’s last at junior flyweight, having already struggled to squeeze down to 108. Two wins have since followed at flyweight, including an eight-round decision win over Gilberto Mendoza as part of a Ring City USA card on NBC Sports Network and its Twitch channel this past March in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox