Jamie McDonnell has a route back to the IBF world bantamweight title – but the journey is not likely to be a comfortable one.
Governing body IBF have ignored calls for McDonnell to be installed as mandatory challenger due to his undefeated status as world champion.
The 27-year-old must go through unbeaten American-Nicaraguan Randy Caballero to secure a shot at the world title he feels is still his.
The Hatfield fighter was stripped of the strap in October after failing to sign for a mandatory defence.
And since then, Darlington’s Stuart Hall claimed the title with a December victory over Vusi Malinga.
McDonnell will fight 20-0 Caballero in a final eliminator on April 19 in Manchester on a yet-to-be-announced Matchroom Boxing show at the Phones4U Arena.
In the mean time, Hall will make a voluntary defence of his IBF crown against fellow North East fighter Martin Ward on March 29 in Newcastle.
Ward is ranked just 15th in the world but Sheffield-based promoter Dennis Hobson is banking on the derby clash creating plenty of interest.
McDonnell’s upcoming opponent Caballero has knocked out 12 of his 20 opponents so far and is the reigning WBO North American bantamweight champion.
When the 23-year-old travels to Manchester it will be his first bout outside the US and only his second outside his native California.
Super bantamweight world champion Scott Quigg is set to defend his title on the Manchester show.