Ray Beltran's immigration woes have left him out for the count again ahead of Sunday’s make-or-break fight against Hiroki Okada.
His own green card issues have cast a shadow over recent fights, but while he is now on the brink of American citizenship his trainer cannot get into the United States.
Marvin Somodio started training Beltran after the boxer lost his WBO Lightweight crown to Jose Pedraza last year, but is in limbo in the Philippines.
Beltran’s manager Steven Fedor explained: “Marvin has a travel visa to come back and forth, and he went back to the Philippines to get it stamped.
“Marvin's intention was always – because he's married to an American citizen – to file for his green card. But he's been travelling so much and been so busy with boxing, he never got a chance to do it.
“He went over there thinking that it wouldn't be a big deal, because he's been able to do it so frequently. I guess things have just changed in terms of the amount of Filipinos that are coming into the United States, and we also had the government shutdown and things were really backed up.
“We were expecting him to come back this week at the latest, but he got hold of me two days ago and said, 'It's not going to happen'. He's jammed up over there and probably won't be able to get back until the end of February.”
Former World Champion Brian Viloria will lead the corner when Beltran makes the step up to Super-Lightweight in the BoxNation televised clash against .
Although from Mexico, Beltran has lived in Phoenix for 16 years. He has faced an uphill battle to get US citizenship even though his three children were born there, but he believes the issue is close to an end.
He added: “We already had the interview for the green card. I have the permit to leave the country, the working permit, but I'm still waiting for the green card.
“It takes a couple of months, it will come in the mail. We're almost there.”
When Beltran lost his Lightweight belt to Pedraza last summer it cost him a big money unification clash against Vasyl Lomachenko.
There is a chance that an impressive performance against Okada could earn a crack at the winner of Jose Ramirez’s top of the bill WBC 140lb defence against Jose Zepeda.
Whoever wakes up with the belt on Monday will need to keep active until the World Boxing Super Series is finished, with two of the other belts locked up in that competition.
Beltran, 37, says: “I've been watching some videos of Okada. He's a good fighter, he's a busy fighter. It's going to be a tough fight. We're just getting ready for it.
“I'm moving up to 140. Hopefully, winning this fight will open up more opportunities for a World Title. I can still make 135 – we're open for any opportunities at 135 or 140.”