Felix Verdejo dropped from WBC ratings
Lightweight contender Felix Verdejo has been dropped from the WBC ratings for not enrolling in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program with VADA and undergoing random drug testing, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told RingTV.com in an email on Tuesday. Sulaiman did say, however, that if Verdejo enrolls in the program immediately, he will be reinserted into the rankings next month.
Top Rank Spokesman Gardy Lopez said it was a simple misunderstanding and that Verdejo is happy to submit to any drug-testing program. He was preparing for a title shot against WBO titleholder Terry Flanagan when the WBC was taking applicants for its program and thus didn’t enroll, Lopez said. Verdejo was named Flanagan’s mandatory in July.
“It’s just a paperwork thing,” Lopez said in a phone interview. “The program was announced when he was training for Flanagan. His manager, Ricky Marquez never received word the WBC was asking for him to apply for the program. We don’t have a problem in enrolling in any drug program. But as Felix is fighting for the WBO title, he has not completed (the drug testing application for the WBC). He has never competed for the WBC title. That doesn’t mean he won’t compete for it in the future.”
Lopez wasn’t clear if Verdejo (22-0, 15 knockouts) plans to sign up anytime soon. Verdejo was involved in a motocross accident in his native Puerto Rico in August that left lacerations on his face and body, forcing him to withdraw from a possible fight with Flanagan. Verdejo continues to work his way back and Top Rank is targeting his return for the first quarter of 2017, Top Rank VP Carl Moretti told RingTV.com. Top Rank has Madison Square Garden on hold for Jan. 28 but Moretti said it was still up in the air who could fight there. Meanwhile, Sulaiman maintains that Verdejo’s camp was advised of the deadline for signing up, which has since passed.
“Felix Verdejo was notified through Top Rank and was also notified by Mr Jose Peñagaricano and the Puerto Rico Boxing commission,” Sulaiman wrote in an email, referring to the president of the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission. “Also the CBP news have been all over the news for more than 4 months, so nobody can claim lack of knowledge. If he unrolls in the CBP program this month, he will certainly be ranked next month.”
Sulaiman dispelled rumors he might have demoted Verdejo because he’s partial to the WBO, calling those assertions “completely wrong. Otherwise, he would not have been ranked #3 (in the WBC).”
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