The WBA continues to develop its world title reduction plan, taking the next steps in the welterweight division. After a thorough review of the situation, it was determined that Errol Spence Jr., the WBA super champion, will be granted special permission to fight Keith Thurman, while Eimantas Stanionis, the regular champion of the category, will face Vergil Ortiz.
The winners of these bouts will square off in the near future to determine the organization’s sole 147-pound champion.
Initially, former super champion Yordenis Ugas was allowed to face Spence in a unification bout, while Butaev and Stanionis fought for the championship title. In these cases, the winners were Spence and Stanionis, respectively.
On November 14, 2022, TGB Promotions applied for special permission on behalf of Spence to fight Thurman in February 2023, but with specific mandatory conditions. Pursuant to WBA rule C.16, which states that mandatory defense periods can be modified for cause, either by special permission request or on its own initiative, the WBA decided that Spence can face Thurman.
Stanionis will remain the mandatory challenger to the welterweight super championship. He will now face Vergil Ortiz, who defeated Michael McKinson in a WBA eliminator on August 8. The winner of the bout, or Stanionis if it ends in a draw, will face the winner of Spence-Thurman within 180 days of their bouts.
The winner of the Spence-Thurman bout is obligated to meet the winner of Stanionis-Ortiz. This ruling supersedes all previous rulings and any issues that arise along the way will be resolved under WBA rules.