EAST ORANGE, N.J. — The International Boxing Federation said Wednesday it will strip Oscar De La Hoya of its lightweight championship if he does not fight No. 1 contender Miguel Julio of Colombia in a mandatory defense by July 31.
De La Hoya won the IBF title in Las Vegas on May 6 by stopping Rafael Ruelas in the second round.
Bob Lee, the IBF president, said a major condition of the IBF's sanctioning of the De La Hoya-Ruelas bout was that Julio be next in line for a shot at the title.
"We are aware that, contrary to directives of this organization, De La Hoya has signed for another fight in September," Lee said in a statement, referring to the Sept. 9 bout against Genaro Hernandez.
"If that is so, we are prepared to vacate his title as of August 1, should he not comply with the conditions of sanction which enabled him to fight Ruelas."
If De La Hoya fails to comply and the IBF vacates the title, the top two contenders would fight for the crown. Phillip Holiday of South Africa is ranked No. 2.