LONDON (Reuters) - Amir Khan's chances of avenging his controversial defeat by Lamont Peterson improved on Friday when the World Boxing Association (WBA) confirmed it had ordered a re-match.
"I can confirm we have ordered a direct rematch," WBA vice-president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza was quoted as saying by the BBC, adding that an official statement would be released soon.
Khan's camp said they could not comment on whether the fight would happen, pointing out that rival sanctioning body the IBF would also have to demand a re-match when they meet to discuss the matter at a hearing next week.
American Peterson earned a surprise victory in an enthralling contest in Washington last month, taking Khan's WBA super-lightweight and IBF light-welterweight belts on a split decision after the Briton was docked two points.
Khan's team questioned the performance of referee Joseph Cooper who crucially deducted points from the Briton in the seventh and 12th rounds, one for pushing and one for hitting his opponent on the break.
The 25-year-old's camp have also suggested a mystery man "interfered" with the judges' scorecards.
Khan posted a number of messages on Twitter last week highlighting footage from the fight in which a man in a black hat can be seen next to WBA supervisor Michael Welsh.
The man then appears to reach across in front of Welsh. The British boxer's camp allege that it was at this point that the man interfered with the scorecards.
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) this week identified the man as Mustafa Ameen, who is not an employee of the body but who assists financially needy boxers.
An IBF hearing on Jan 18 will decide whether they also demand a re-match. Should they not do so, Peterson could choose to relinquish his WBA title rather than agree to fight Khan again.
Last week Khan's promoter said he was confident the IBF would follow the decision of the WBA.
"We sure hope that the IBF will follow because that's the least they can do," Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told Sky Sports News.
"The ruling of the WBA to order an immediate rematch should put additional pressures on the IBF."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Alan Baldwin)