Welterweights Ray Robinson and Yordenis Ugas will meet in a world title eliminator Feb. 10 after the IBF agreed to approve the bout as an eliminator for the No. 2 position in its rankings.
The winner will move a step closer to a mandatory shot at the 147-pound world title held by Errol Spence Jr.
The IBF sent Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, which works with Ugas along with Mayweather Promotions, and Lou DiBella, who represents Robinson, a letter Monday saying that it would grant a formal sanction for the fight as an eliminator once it receives signed contracts for the bout. They are due by Jan. 24.
Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) is scheduled to defend his belt against former titlist Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) on Jan. 20 in a Showtime-televised main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
According to the IBF letter, “The winner of Spence vs. Peterson must fight the leading available contender in a mandatory defense of the Title. The winner of Robinson vs. Ugas must fight the leading available contender to become No. 1.”
Ugas-Robinson will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio on the undercard of the Showtime card headlined by lightweight world titleholder Mikey Garcia challenging Sergey Lipinets for his junior welterweight world title in a bid to claim a world title in a third weight class. Ugas-Robinson is under consideration to open the Showtime telecast.
“Ugas-Robinson is an intriguing crossroads-type matchup between two talented boxers, each looking to earn his way into the top tier of the welterweight division,” Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports told ESPN. “We are in discussions with Mayweather Promotions to add it as an opening bout on the Showtime telecast.”
Ugas (20-3, 9 KOs), 31, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, Florida, won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008. He has won five fights in a row, most recently a unanimous decision against former world title challenger Thomas Dulorme on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard.
Robinson (24-2, 12 KOs), 31, of Philadelphia, has won 13 fights in a row since suffering back-to-back decision losses to Shawn Porter, who went on to win a world title, and Brad Solomon in 2009 and 2010, respectively.