Josh Taylor stripped of 140-pound WBA title after refusing mandatory defense

Josh Taylor is no longer undisputed at 140 pounds.

The Scotland native was stripped of his WBA title, the organization announced Saturday, for his refusal to proceed with a mandatory defense vs. Alberto Puello.

Puello, of the Dominican Republic, is now lined up to fight Ismael Barroso of Venezuela for the vacant belt.

Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) won his first title in 2019 and collected two more belts with a May 2021 victory over Jose Ramirez to capture the undisputed junior welterweight championship.

His first defense of all four belts was mired in controversy. Jack Catterall appeared to pull off the upset of Taylor in February, but the judges scored the bout for Taylor.

Taylor, 31, announced afterward that he would relinquish all four belts and move up to welterweight, but he hasn't yet done so.

Now, the WBA made the decision for him, at least with one title. Even if Taylor reversed course and remained at 140 pounds, he was never going to proceed with a bout against an unheralded boxer like Puello with so many big-money options available.

The purse bid was won by TGB Promotions, the promoter of PBC bouts, last month for just $200,000, set to be split between the fighters 55-45 in Taylor's favor.

Taylor routinely earns several million dollars per bout, and that next big payday is almost certain to come at welterweight.