The fight between interim junior welterweight world titlist Alberto Puello and former titlist Rances Barthelemy, which was scheduled as the co-feature of the Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox on Sept. 6 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, has been called off because the Dominican Republic’s Puello has issues with his visa, a source with knowledge of the situation told BoxingScene on Monday night.
The source said the plan is to Puello’s visa issue resolved and reschedule the bout for later in the year. PBC has numerous cards on both Fox and Showtime scheduled for the rest of 2020 with several televised slots that have to be filled.
The 26-year-old Puello (17-0, 9 KOs) won the WBA’s vacant interim 140-pound belt by unanimous decision – 115-113 on all three scorecards – over countryman Jonathan Alonso, who was undefeated at the time, in July 2019.
The fight between Puello and Barthelemy was due to be Puello’s first fight outside of the Dominican Republic and his first interim title defense.
Barthelemy (27-1-1, 14 KOs), 34, a Cuban defector fighting out of Las Vegas, would represent Puello’s biggest step up in competition so far during his five-year professional career.
Barthelemy, who has won world titles at lightweight and junior lightweight, has previously unsuccessfully challenged for a vacant junior welterweight belt but lost a unanimous decision to Kiryl Relikh in their March 2018 rematch.
Barthelemy rebounded from the loss with a third-round knockout of journeyman Robert Frankel and then fought to a split draw with former lightweight titlist Robert Easter Jr. in April 2019 in a fight for a vacant lightweight title.
In the main event of the special Sunday card (8 p.m. ET), longtime welterweight contender Yordenis Ugas (25-4, 12 KOs), 34, a Miami-based Cuban defector, takes on Abel Ramos (26-3-2, 20 KOs), 29, of Casa Grande, Arizona, for a vacant secondary world title.
Ugas has won two fights in a row against Omar Figueroa Jr. and Mike Dallas Jr. since a controversial split decision loss challenging then-welterweight world titlist Shawn Porter in March 2019. Ramos is riding an eight-fight winning streak since a 10-round majority decision loss to Jamal James in April 2018.
The new co-feature to replace Puello-Barthelemy is to be announced as is the rest of the undercard, other than junior welterweight up-and-comer Jesus Ramos (12-0, 11 KOs), Abel’s 19-year-old nephew, being scheduled to face an opponent to be named in an eight-round bout.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.