Terence Crawford, ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, is no longer the undisputed welterweight champion after he was stripped of the IBF title, according to the organization’s updated rankings at 147 pounds.
Jaron “Boots” Ennis was elevated from interim titleholder to IBF welterweight champion.
Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs), 36, defeated Errol Spence Jr. in July to unify all four welterweight titles via ninth-round TKO. He entered the bout with the WBO title and added the IBF, WBA and WBC belts to his collection.
After the bout, the IBF ordered Crawford to defend against Ennis. Crawford contractually owes Spence an immediate return bout after the latter exercised the rematch clause. The IBF, however, does not recognize rematch clauses as an exception to mandatory obligations.
The winner of the February bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship will face a similar issue. The IBF informed both parties that the winner must face Filip Hrgovic next or be stripped despite the rematch clause.
No date has been set for the Crawford-Spence rematch, though sources told ESPN last month it was being planned for February.
Spence won the IBF title from Kell Brook in May 2017. Since that victory, Spence has fought seven times and made only one mandatory defense, a first-round KO of fringe contender Carlos Ocampo in June 2018.
Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs) is one of the best young talents in boxing, but he hasn’t been able to secure a top-flight opponent. That should change now that he has a world title.
The 26-year-old Philadelphian is coming off a 10th-round KO of Roiman Villa in July. Ennis is ESPN’s No. 3 welterweight.
IBF president Daryl Peoples didn’t respond to a text message seeking comment.