Lamont Roach Jr. Ordered To Make WBA Title Defense Against Jono Carroll

February 10, 2024
2 weeks
Lamont Roach

Lamont Roach Jr. has been ordered to make an immediate mandatory defense of his junior-lightweight world title against Jono Carroll, the WBA announced.

Roach (24-1-1 9 KO) won the WBA belt – his first world title – in November last year with a split-decision victory over Hector Luis Garcia in Las Vegas. The American will not have the chance for a less challenging first defense and is instead straight into a mandatory against Irishman Carroll.

The decision from the WBA is shrouded in confusion as the governing body had previously ordered a final eliminator between Otar Eranosyan and Roger Gutierrez, which Eranosyan won last August via an eight-round stoppage. As a result, Eranosyan is ranked No. 1 by the WBA with Carroll ranked No. 2, but the WBA has still ordered Carroll as Roach’s mandatory.

In a ruling on Friday, WBA Championship Committee chairman Carlos Chavez explained the body’s decision, saying in a statement: “The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee recognized Jono Carroll as the mandatory challenger of the super featherweight category after an extensive analysis of the division and what has happened recently.

“Carroll sent a formal request to WBA and after analyzing the scenario, the decision was reached on Friday, February 9. It was approved that Carroll will be Roach’s mandatory challenger and a 30-day period will be granted to negotiate the fight as established by the WBA. In addition, the winner of the bout will face Eranosyan within 120 days of his victory.”

It therefore means, based on the WBA’s statement, that if Roach defeats Carroll and successfully defends his title, he will have to make another immediate mandatory defense against Eranosyan. Likewise, if Carroll wins, his first fight as champion will be a mandatory defense.

In response to the news, Carroll posted on Instagram: “Finally I get my shot at the @wbaboxingofficial world title, no more running or hiding. All the dedication will show.”

Both Carroll and Eranosyan had legitimate claims for a shot at Roach’s title next. The WBA had already made Carroll mandatory in waiting, ever since his majority decision win over Andy Vences in September 2021. Since then, the Irishman has fought four times, winning all four including most recently a points win over Miguel Marriaga in Dubai last March.

It makes the WBA’s decision to announce Eranosyan’s fight with Gutierrez all the more baffling, although the confusion could be traced back to February 2022 when Gutierrez was scheduled to fight then interim title holder Chris Colbert in what was billed as a title eliminator.

An injury prevented Gutierrez from fighting, and his replacement, Garcia, stepped in and comfortably beat Colbert to put himself at the front of the line. Garcia then beat Gutierrez to become the WBA champion, only to lose the belt to Roach in his first title defense.

Clearly aware of the situation and feeling at risk of losing the opportunity to contest his first world title fight, Carroll ultimately launched his appeal. In response, the WBA evidently believes that he had provided sufficient evidence of his right to be Roach’s mandatory challenger.

The two sides now have until March 10 to agree a deal before a purse hearing is set up to decide the details.