LUKE Jackson’s ascension up the featherweight ratings has met a speed bump.
The hard-working former Olympian and perennial workhorse was scheduled to make the first defence of his WBA Oceania featherweight title on October 15th against a soon-to-be-named opponent at the Hobart City Hall.
However, a series of sanctioning quandaries have proved to be a major stumbling block, with Jackson’s promotional team recently announcing their decision to vacate their WBA affiliated regional title to pursue other opportunities.
“The announcement has been a long time coming,” said Jackson’s career-long promoter Adam Wilcock.
“In preparation for the originally scheduled October bout – Luke injured his hand – and was advised by doctors to take complete rest and some time away from boxing for the first time since he first entered a boxing ring.”
“Luke is now back training as hard as usual and nearing full fitness.”
“Having won the WBA Oceania title on March’s last big Hobart show, Luke became world rated and we were poised to follow this path, with the aim of reaching a world title opportunity. This is a path already followed by three (Fightcard Promotions) boxers who had all fought for a WBA world championship.”
Jackson, 30, has won twelve consecutive fights since turning professional. The Moonah-based featherweight scored a career-best win in March with a decision over former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario.
Under Wilcock’s guidance, Melbourne-based mauler Frank LoPorto and more recently Brisbane-based duo Jarrod Fletcher and Dennis Hogan all fought for versions of the WBA world title, following the assumed path of Jackson.
With a proven track record of securing WBA title opportunities, it appeared inevitable that the WBA #13 rated Jackson (12-0, 5 KOs) would work his way towards an eventual world title tilt in the next eighteen months.
Despite Wilcock’s apparent loyalty to the Panama-based sanctioning body, garnering approval for Jackson’s latest opponent was proving to be a difficult and at times tedious process, with up to eight opponents being declined.
“Throughout the last period of time we have had the November 19th date in the works and had been planning all the detail,” Wilcock continued. “There is nothing more important than finding the right opponent for Luke,”
“Having submitted eight opponents to the WBA Oceania president – with all not approved – we were told that the sanction fee must be paid within two weeks and that no more communication would be entered in to.”
“Over two months out from the promotion, this is unusual on two fronts; sanction fees are never required two months prior to a show, many times paid at the weigh in or post-show. Also, the step to cease communication by the WBA Oceania president is not only unreasonable, but also unprofessional,”
“With Luke’s best interest forefront in decisions, there is no way that we would be able to successfully organise another Hobart show without having confirmation as to who would or wouldn’t be sanctioned as an opponent.”
“As such we have been forced to change direction.”
Jackson will now challenge by former WBC super flyweight title challenger Silvester Lopez at the picturesque Princes Wharf in Hobart, making Lopez the second world title challenger Jackson has faced in three fights.
The pair will collide for the vacant WBO Oriental featherweight title.
Photo: Bruno Ferreira