The IBF has decided to release a statement on the status of their middleweight title belt, held by Jermain Taylor. They apparently still felt the need to declare that the belt was “vacant”, as opposed to Taylor hanging on to it while he moved between prison and the mental institution.
They’ve also shared that Hassan N’Dam and Felix Sturm are the two highest ranked available challengers for that belt. Awesome. Sergio Mora had been slated to face Taylor for the title (also awesome) and instead skated by with a split decision over Abie Han on Friday Night Fights tonight.
Either way, here’s the full release from the IBF:
The IBF Middleweight title which was held by Jermain Taylor has been vacated. It has been widely reported that on January 22, 2015, Mr. Taylor surrendered to authorities in Pulaski County, AK, was placed in custody and is due in court on February 10, 2015. Reports have also indicated that Mr. Taylor would be moved to a state hospital to await an evaluation which will take place by April 27.
Rule 5.C. of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests states in part:
“Any boxer who is ill, injured, under a legal impediment which would prevent the bout from taking place, or on suspension at the time the Championships Chairman and President order a bout under this rule shall be considered unavailable.”
It is the opinion of the IBF/USBA that Jermain Taylor’s confinement has effectively rendered him unavailable to prepare to defend his title at the time the Championships Chairman and the President are due to order his mandatory bout. Furthermore, his confinement prevents him from actively negotiating with the leading available contender under Rule 5.D.1. For these reasons, the Championships Committee and the Board of Directors have decided to withdraw recognition of Mr. Taylor’s title in accordance to Rule 5.D.1.(b) so as not to tie up the division and penalize the other boxers in the IBF Middleweight rankings.
“The IBF wishes Jermain the best of luck and hopes that he is able to resolve these matters quickly,” stated IBF President Daryl Peoples. Jermain Taylor’s promoter, Lou Di Bella, was advised to notify the organization when Mr. Taylor resumes his boxing career.
Hassan N’Dam and Felix Sturm, ranked numbers 1 and 3 respectively, are the two highest ranked contenders in the division and have been ordered to fight for the title. They are to notify the IBF of their availability by February 9, 2015 by 5PM.