Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs) has been stripped of the WBO super bantamweight title because of inactivity.
The two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist has not defended the title since last December, where he was knocked down twice in the 7th round by Japanese challenger Hisashi Amagasa before rallying for an 11th-round stoppage victory.
Rigondeaux won the belt when he outpointed Nonito Donaire to unify it with his WBA belt, which he still holds, in April 2013. But he has only fought three times since.
Rigondeaux had the option to defend the title against any fighter ranked in the top 15. However, with nothing in the works, the WBO committee voted unanimously to vacate the title.
Francisco Valcarcel, president of the WBO, said: “Unfortunately we had to deal today with the topic of Rigondeaux, who over 31 months has only made three fights.
“He has not made any announcement on when he will fight again. We do not know what the reasons are (for his inactivity) and we can not punish 15 other fighters that are in the rankings to protect a champion – regardless of how good he is.
“For boxing purists, Rigondeaux is one of the most extraordinary boxers you can see. But there is a responsibility to those ranked under the WBO. The title is not something that belongs to the champion but to the entire sport and every member of the sanctioning body that is rated has a right to fight for it.
“For us, we feel sorry stripping him as world champion but we must enforce the rules for inactivity. The title has to be declared vacant and in this case the champion has made only three defences in almost three years.”