ATLANTIC CITY - Javier Fortuna became the former WBA interim featherweight champion on Thursday at Tropicana Casino and Resort.
WBA supervisor George Martinez stripped Fortuna of the title when the native of the Dominican Republic failed to make the 126-pound limit during the weigh-in for tonight's 12-round bout against Mexican contender Miguel Zamudio.
"They are still going to fight, but only Zamudio can win the title," Martinez said. "If Zamudio wins, he is the WBA interim featherweight champion. If Fortuna wins, the title is vacant."
Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) initially weighed 127 pounds Thursday afternoon. New Jersey Athletic Control Board commissioner Aaron Davis explained that the 23-year-old had one hour to make the weight, in accordance with state regulations.
Fortuna returned 30 minutes later to try again. He took off his underwear and even tried standing on one foot while raising his arms over his head, but the scale registered 126.8 on two attempts.
"Normally fighters are given a 1-pound allowance, but not in title fights," Davis said. "Fortuna can't weigh over 126."
Zamudio's handlers negotiated a deal with Fortuna's camp and promoter Sampson Lewkowicz in which Fortuna will have to pay Zamudio 10 percent of his purse as a penalty. The fight still will be the main event of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."
Fortuna, 23, is coming off a sensational performance that produced a 12-round, unanimous decision over then-unbeated Patrick Hyland in Las Vegas last Dec. 12.
Zamudio will be fighting for the first time outside of his native Mexico. In his last outing, he gained an eight-round, split decision over veteran Gilberto Bolanos (26-21-1) on Dec. 14.
Four other bouts are scheduled for tonight, including a six-round fight featuring Atlantic City welterweight prospect Anthony Young (7-0, 3 KOs) against Rafael Montalvo (2-3, 2 KOs), of St. Clair, Pa.
Young, 25, is back in the ring just a month after posting a third-round TKO over Ronnie Jordan on March 15 in Whippany Park. Montalvo, 22, has suffered back-to-back decision losses after posting an upset over Egg Harbor Township resident DeCarlo Perez on a second-round TKO at Bally's Atlantic City.
Doors to Tropicana's Showroom will open at 7 p.m. with the first undercard bout scheduled for 8. ESPN2's coverage does not begin until 10:30 p.m. Tickets are priced from $40 to $200 and are available at Tropicana's box office and through Ticketmaster.
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