The WBA have officially named Guillermo Rigondeaux ‘Champion in Recess’ and simultaneously given Scott Quigg a special permit to fight a unification bout with IBF Champion Carl Frampton. This is essentially the WBA upgrading Quigg to ‘Super’ champion and giving Rigondeaux a warning to get in the ring and fight the champion by May 1st, 2016.
The WBA were forced to take this action as the IBF only recognise the highest ranked champion in each sanctioning body at any given weight class. As Quigg isn’t the highest ranked champion in the WBA at 122lbs a unification bout seemed to be out of the question.
At 122lbs, in the WBA, Rigondeaux is the ‘Super’ Champion and Quigg is the ‘Regular’ Champion. This means Rigondeaux is the highest ranked champion in the WBA at 122lbs. Hence, the IBF wouldn’t approve a unification bout for Frampton vs. Quigg.
So, Rigondeaux was made ‘Champion in Recess’ and Quigg given permission to unify. This may sound harsh on Rigondeaux, but the WBA are well within their rights to take such action as the WBA rules state:
“Champions must defend their titles within nine (9) months.” (Rule C.13.)
“If a Champion is unavailable to timely defend the title due to injury or other legal impediment, a Champion may be granted status as a Champion in Recess.” (Rule C.22.)
WBA Chairman, Gilberto Jesus Mendoza Jr. stated “Rigondeaux is presumed to know [that] a champion must regularly defend his title, remain active, and follow the WBA’s instructions regarding title defenses. Rigondeaux has not defended or scheduled to defend his title in a timely fashion culminating in only four bouts since September 15, 2012.”
“In light of Rigondeaux’s impressive record and accomplishments, the delays associated with his various managerial/promoter disputes, and the loss of his unification status, Rigondeaux is named Champion in Recess. Rigondeaux must come out of recess and face the Champion on or before May 1, 2016.”
Unfortunately, for Rigondeaux, he was also stripped of the WBO title this week due to inactivity. Perhaps this made it easier for the WBA to class him as a ‘Champion in Recess’ and help make Frampton vs. Quigg a unification bout.