Yordenis Ugas and Eimantas Stanionis ultimately found common ground.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a previously scheduled purse bid to determine promotional rights for Ugas-Stanionis has been canceled, as the two sides managed to reach an agreement for Ugas’ WBA “Super” welterweight title. The fight was first formally ordered in September and then sent to a purse bid after more than two months’ worth of talks and appeals failed to produce an agreement.
That dynamic has changed with less than 24 hours to spare.
The session was scheduled to take place December 9 in Miami, which would have been open to all WBA-registered promoters for a minimum bid of $200,000. Ugas (27-4, 12KOs) would have earned the favorable end of a 75/25 split as the defending champion.
Instead, TGB Promotions—representing Ugas through Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)—and Probellum founder Richard Schaefer, Stanionis’ career-long promoter managed to reach a deal. News of the development was reported to the WBA by Schaefer via email, a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com.
Details on when—or even if—Ugas-Stanionis will take place remains unclear. PBC originally hoped to stage a three-belt unification bout between Ugas and WBC/IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence (27-0, 21KOs) next February in Las Vegas.
Such a fight—in addition to further unifying the division—would have seen things come full circle for Miami’s Ugas, who replaced an injured Spence versus legendary Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39KOs) atop an August 21 Fox Sports Pay-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ugas won by unanimous decision to successfully defend his WBA “Super” welterweight title after having accepted the fight on eleven days’ notice.
The next steps hoped to be Spence-Ugas, as TGB Promotions’ Tom Brown formally requested approval from the WBA on September 16. Brown informed the sanctioning body that Spence would be cleared to return to training on November 1, with the intention of moving to a WBA/WBC/IBF welterweight title fight.
Unfortunately, the request came one day late. Just 24 hours prior, the WBA formally ordered a four-man box-off involving Ugas-Stanionis and the long-delayed WBA “World” title fight between Jamal James (27-2, 12KOs) and Radzhab Butaev (14-0, 11KOs; 1NC). The latter bout took place October 30 in Las Vegas, with Butaev winning by ninth-round knockout.
By that point, Ugas saw a lengthy appeal process thoroughly reviewed but ultimately rejected due to opposition from Stanionis (13-0, 9KOs; 1NC) through Schaefer and manager Shelly Finkel. The WBA was left with its hands tied, re-ordering the fight in late October. The 30-day negotiation period failed to produce an agreement between parties, though Wednesday’s news at least allows PBC to gain firm control of the event.
Should the bout proceed, the winner will have to next face Butaev. The process is part of the WBA’s committed effort to reduce its number of recognized titlists. The sanctioning body removed all interim titles from circulation on August 25, having since aggressively ordered a number of mandatories and title consolidation fights.
Stanionis—who represented Lithuania in the 2016 Rio Olympics—has not fought since a No-Decision with former titlist Luis Collazo this past August, two weeks prior to Ugas’ win over Pacquiao. Earlier this year, Stanionis fended off determined former title challenger Thomas Dulorme to win a twelve-round decision this past April.
Ugas—a 2008 Olympian for Cuba before making his way to the U.S. upon turning pro—won the vacant WBA “World” welterweight title in a twelve-round decision win over Abel Ramos last September. The victory over Pacquiao marks his lone title defense to date.
Per WBA by-laws, failure by Ugas to proceed with the ordered title fight would have resulted in the WBA “Super” title being declared vacant.
With matters being settled between Ugas and Stanionis, the WBA is now down to one purse bid hearing for Thursday. Still scheduled is a session to determine promotional rights for the re-ordered secondary heavyweight title fight between WBA “World” titlist Trevor Bryan and “Champion in Recess” and former title claimant Mahmoud Charr.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox