Soro and Kurbanov to Fight for Vacant WBA Super Welterweight Title

Skilled veteran Michel Soro and undefeated contender Magomed Kurbanov will fight for the vacant WBA world super welterweight title on Saturday in France.

Updated: July 18, 2019 • 9:35 PM ET


Marseille, France will host this weekend's WBA super welterweight title fight.

Update: Magomed Kurbanov has been replaced by Anderson Prestot due to Kurbanov having visa issues.

The vacant WBA super welterweight title will be on the line this Saturday, as French veteran Michel Soro will battle undefeated prospect Magomed Kurbanov in Marseille, France.

Soro has won three straight fights since losing a close split decision to Brian Carlos Castano for the interim title in 2017. The two were supposed to fight again for the “regular” belt, but the WBA stripped Castano for failing to sign the contract for his mandatory defense against Soro. Reportedly, a dispute over his purse was the reason Castano refused to sign.

Soto’s trainer, however, Abel Sanchez, said he doesn’t understand why Castano and Soro haven’t fought a second time.

“It really hasn’t been made very clear of why Brian Castano did not want to fight Michel Soro again,” Sanchez recently told World Boxing News. “He’s giving up a world title belt that every fighter dreams of having, without a fight inside or outside the ring. It doesn’t make sense.”

Regardless of the dispute, Soro now has the chance to move from interim champion to regular champion with a win on Saturday.

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The WBA originally had its sights set on Soro fighting No. 2 ranked Erislandy Lara (who scored a draw with Castano last March) after stripping Castano of the belt, but Lara has a headlining fight against Ramon Alvarez on August 31. Kurbanov, who has flown under the radar, will step in for a golden opportunity to throw a wrench into an already chaotic situation.

On the fast track to claiming his first major title, Soro most recently defeated Greg Vendetti by second-round TKO in December. His only two defeats have come in title fights with the other loss aside Castano coming in 2012 to Zaurbek Baysangurov by unanimous decision for the IBO and WBO titles.

The 31-year-old Soro (33-2-1, 22 KOs) has been a professional for more than 10 years and has key victories over John Vera, Ivan Montero, Nuhu Lawai, Emanuele Blandamura and Glen Tapia.

Kurbanov (17-0, 11 KOs) most recently defeated Damian Ezequiel Bonelli by unanimous decision in February. The 23-year-old was scheduled to fight future Hall of Famer Shane Mosley in 2017, which would have boosted his resume, but Mosley retired instead.

Kurbanov had a successful amateur career in which he won gold at the 2008 Youth World Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. In his professional career, the Russian fighter has notable victories in international title fights over Akinori Watanabe and Stepan Horvath. Saturday’s fight, however, will be Kurbanov’s first outside of Russia.