IBF Orders Dlamini-Khegai Eliminator to Decide Challenger for Lopez

The IBF has called for a featherweight eliminator between South African Lerato Dlamini and Arnold Khegai to decide the No. 1 position and become a mandatory challenger to champion Luis Lopez.

The 30-year-old Mexican Lopez, 30-2 (17 KOs), defeated Reiya Abe earlier this month in upstate New York, and Colin Nathan – representing Dlamini – and Top Rank’s Carl Moretti, for Khegai, have agreed to the fight.

Dlamini is rated No. 2 by the IBF, with Khegai No. 3. The top spot is vacant. 

“Lights Out” Dlamini is 20-2 (11 KOs) and had been due to face Tomoki Kameda, the IBF’s No. 5, in a contracted rematch on March 31, but a clause had been inserted stating that Dlamini-Kameda II would take place, subject to the IBF approving it for the No. 1 position for the IBF mandatory challenger’s position.  

Dlamini won a split decision over Kameda in October 2023 in Tokyo, but Nathan has informed the Kamedas of his decision to go the IBF route against Khegai with his fighter.

Globe-trotting Khegai, a Los Angeles-based Ukrainian, is 31 and has a 21-1-1 (13 KOs) record, and since losing a 2020 decision to Stephen Fulton, he has boxed in Ukraine, Germany, Omaha, Dubai and Spain. 

Both sides are hopeful of securing a deal without going to purse bids.

“Khegai, is a good solid and strong fighter,” said Nathan. “I’m expecting a really solid contest, but I believe with the right strategy we will win.” 

 

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