The IBF has elevated interim super middleweight titleholder Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui to full world champion status. The move came after reigning champion James DeGale relinquished the belt rather make his mandatory defense against Uzcategui.
“The Englishman (DeGale) chose to give up the title rather than face me,” said Uzcategui. “When he was crowned for the second time, I challenged him that night and he never accepted my challenge. The fight was mandatory, but he chose to vacate the title out of fear that I’ll defeat him.”
Uzcategui (27-2, 23 KOs) must now defend against unbeaten Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs) at the end of August.
“I am happy to have been named overall IBF champion. I won’t give it away like what happened and I’ll proudly defend my belt. I worked hard to get where I am,” stated Uzcategui.
He calls Plant “an ordinary opponent,” but says he’ll prepare in Tijuana with great intensity. “I’ve said many times that of all the super middleweights, Jose Uzcategui is the best. There is no one better than me. With God’s favor, I’ll win my next fight, then I’m ready to unify titles,” he concluded.
The teams representing Uzcategui and Plant have received a deadline of August 5 to reach an agreement or a purse bid will be ordered.