Guillermo Rigondeaux, stripped of his two junior featherweight world titles late last year, has been given one of them back.
"We're pleased that the WBA has reinstated Guillermo as their (junior featherweight) world champion," Roc Nation Boxing COO David Itskowitch told ESPN.com. "He's the best fighter in the division, as well as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and should be recognized as such."
Rigondeaux unified two 122-pound titles in a career-best win, a decision against Nonito Donaire, in April 2013. He defended the unified belts three times but was stripped by the WBO in late October because of inactivity. A week later, he was relieved of his WBA belt for the same reason but named a "champion in recess."
Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs), a 35-year-old southpaw who won gold medals for Cuba in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics before defecting and settling in Miami, Florida, eventually signed with promoter Roc Nation Sports. The company immediately scheduled him for a Nov. 21 fight on the Canelo Alvarez-Miguel Cotto undercard in Las Vegas, where Rigondeaux won a virtual shutout decision against Drian Francisco.
Rigondeaux was the mandatory challenger for Carl Frampton, who unified belts against Scott Quigg in February. Rather than face Rigondeaux in a mandatory defense, he elected to move up to featherweight and challenge world titleholder Leo Santa Cruz on July 30, and he was stripped.
As a result, the WBA reinstated Rigondeaux and ordered him to face interim titleholder Moises Flores (24-0, 17 KOs), of Mexico, in a mandatory fight by Aug. 1.
"If either Flores or Rigondeaux wish to face any other opponent, the WBA may consider an application for a special permit consistent with WBA rules," the WBA wrote in its ruling.
Both are planning to take interim bouts. Flores is slated to face former bantamweight world titleholder Paulus Ambunda (24-1, 10 KOs) on June 11 in Ambunda's hometown of Windhoek, Namibia. According to the WBA, Roc Nation Sports is in talks with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn about a possible fight for Rigondeaux against bantamweight world titleholder Jamie McDonnell (28-2-1, 13 KOs), of England, who would move up in weight if they make a deal.