Argentina's Victor Emilio Ramirez has been elevated to a full cruiserweight titleholder and will defend the belt for the first time on Oct. 2 in Buenos Aires after injured Yoan Pablo Hernandez was stripped of the title.
Ramirez (22-2, 17 KOs), 31, who had been the IBF's interim titleholder, is slated to face Jamaica-born, England-based journeyman Ovill McKenzie (25-12, 13 KOs), 35, who has won four bouts in a row.
Ramirez, 31, initially was scheduled for a mandatory bout on Oct. 2 against Hernandez, 31, a former Cuban amateur star who defected to Germany. Hernandez, however, was still having problems with his surgically repaired right elbow and withdrew from the fight, according to promoter Kalle Sauerland.
Hernandez has been out of action since making his fourth title defense 13 months ago, a split-decision win against former titleholder Firat Arslan.
During Hernandez's sabbatical, Ramirez claimed the interim belt in April with a unanimous decision against Ola Afolabi. The IBF mandated that Hernandez (29-1, 14 KOs) had to face Ramirez upon his return, but when he was unable to shake off the injury by the deadline to face Ramirez, he was stripped of his 200-pound world title and Ramirez was elevated.
"[Hernandez] had a medical exception but got injured again and could not defend the title within the time frame," Lindsey Tucker of the IBF told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "Interim champion Victor Ramirez has been moved up."
Sauerland told ESPN.com that Hernandez has appealed the IBF's ruling to strip him, arguing that Ramirez was allowed to postpone the bout in July because of an injury and that Hernandez should be given the same consideration.