The IBO has informed Baby Jet Promotions and their fighter, Emmanuel Game Boy” Tagoe, that he must face mandatory challenger Fedor Papazov next.
According to the correspondence, Tagoe must defend his IBO world lightweight title against Papazov no later than June 15, 2018. The two camps have been given 30 days to come to an agreement.
As is the case with mandatory status, should the two sides fail to come to an agreement, the IBO will set a date for a purse bid. It’s unlikely to reach that point.
Sadly, a Papazov win does not move the needle for Tagoe. The 32-year-old Russian is several notches below the elite at lightweight. He earned the mandatory status by defeating the unheralded Howik Bebraham by 12-round split decision on March 10th.
Papazov is currently ranked no. 22 by Boxrec.com. The best opponent on his record is Petr Petrov, who easily outpointed Papazov in the 2014 ESPN Boxcino tourney. Last week, Petrov was stopped himself in eight rounds by Ivan Baranchyk.
Papazov also lost a decision to Miguel Gonzalez in 2015. Gonzalez has not fought since.
Hence, should Tagoe go ahead with this bout, it would continue a string of disappointing opponents that has soured the public on the 31-year-old boxer.
Last January, Tagoe made the first defense of his title, stopping Argentina’s Fernando David Saucedo in the tenth round. Saucedo’s effort, or lack thereof, was widely criticized. So was the controversial stoppage.
Tagoe was originally slated to face former world champion Argenis Mendez. Mendez, who was coming off an upset win over Ivan Redkach, represented a true step up in class. However, Tagoe suffered an injury in camp. Once healed, he and his team opted to face Saucedo instead.
Tagoe first won the title in December 2016, when he outpointed a 43-year-old Mzonke Fana.
Fans may complain again at Tagoe’s choice of opposition but, since Papazov is a mandatory, he has no choice—unless he petitions the IBO for a more credible opponent. That is unlikely. Thus, those same fans will continue to wait to see Tagoe in against a serious challenger.