Former World Title challenger Raymundo Beltran faces a fight inside and outside of the ring to try and become a green card resident of the United States.
On August 5th he faces Bryan Vasquez on the Vasyl Lomachenko undercard in California, live on BoxNation, as he chases down a shot at IBF World Lightweight Champion Robert Easter Jr.
When he was 15, the Mexican crossed the border into the States as an illegal immigrant with his mother and siblings. Now an established contender aged 36, he must convince authorities that he is worthy of ‘extraordinary athlete’ status, so that he can qualify for an EB-1 green card. This is typically available to certain sportspeople and entertainers.
“[In boxing] the green card process is unique,” his manager Steve Feder told USA Today. “You have to prove yourself unique to anyone else, not just in the world but within the sport itself, you have to be a great fighter among great fighters. It is twice as hard. It is not about how long you have been here, if you pay your taxes, it is nothing to do with that.”
Reportedly, he has been told by immigration experts that earning mandatory challenger status for the IBF crown would prove to be the decisive factor in the decision.
On a recent Facebook post about Beltran, Top Rank, his promoters, discussed the complicated situation in more detail.
“Winning fights shows that he is an extraordinary athlete, which is the requisite for the green card he has applied for. The [Jonathan] Maicelo win [on May 20th] was the beginning of his process.
“As of now every fight he's in matters to him potentially getting a green card, again not a visa renewal. Obviously one win wasn't going to grant him that, so it's an on-going fight for him - one that matters a lot to Raymundo,” they said.
Beltran has challenged for the WBO World Lightweight Title three times, including a defeat on the cards to Terence Crawford in 2014 and a draw with Ricky Burns a year earlier. He is currently the highest ranked Lightweight with the IBF as he hopes to secure a fight with Easter Jr.
Buy BoxNation to watch Vasyl Lomachenko v Miguel Marriaga, and Raymundo Beltran v Bryan Vasquez on August 5th.