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WBC announces list of mandatory challengers

Fighters Network

The World Boxing Council’s 54th annual convention took place over the past week in Hollywood, Florida, and one of the key topics of conversation was how to sort out the various title challengers going forward.

Some of the big questions centered on the cruiserweight division, with regard to Tony Bellew’s position as champion because he is fighting David Haye at heavyweight, leaving the WBC cruiserweight contenders jockeying for position.

The following are the mandatory challengers in the 17 weight classes:


HeavyweightAlexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne meet on Saturday to decide the interim champion. Silver champion Johann Duhaupas meets Carlos Takam on Jan. 29.

CruiserweightMauricio Sulaiman officially said that, as it has been a year, Emeritus champion Grigory Drozd will not longer hold that distinction.

Bellew asked for an exception to face David Haye and be allowed to keep his title until after that fight. No. 1 contender Mairis Breidis and No. 2 Marco Huck have been mandated to face each other to become the interim champion. Both sides were happy to work together to make the fight; they have 30 days to come to an agreement.

Huck’s representative asked that if Bellew loses and goes back to cruiserweight that the Breidis-Huck winner vs. Bellew to be a 50-50 purse split. Sulaiman explained that the rule is 55-45 for the champion.

Sulaiman also made a motion and it was agreed by the board that Olanrewaju Durodola, IIunga Makabu, Dmitry Kudryashov and Krszstof Wlodarcyk will meet in a tournament to find the next mandatory challenger.

Light heavyweightYvon Michel explained that titleholder Adonis Stevenson had been due to meet Eleider Alvarez but there was a delay due to a lack of PBC dates. No. 1 and Silver champion Alvarez will face No. 6 Lucian Bute Feb. 24 in a final eliminator and the winner will face Stevenson next, on April 29. Sulaiman said that in January the WBC would address the next mandatory because there has been no mandatory defense for three years.

Super middleweight – The winner of the WBC/IBF unification between Badou Jack and James DeGale will face No. 1 Callum Smith next, even if there is an IBF mandatory. The IBF has confirmed this. Ahmet Ohner asked for a final elimination between No. 2 Anthony Dirrell and No. 3 Avni Yildrim. Tom Brown asked to delay that to see how things play out in the unification first, and brought up that Anthony Dirrell fights on Jan. 13. Sampson Lewkowicz asked to do Rogelio Medina-David Benavidez in an eliminator. Sulaiman said that we will wait until after Jan. 13 to see how Anthony Dirrell does; if he loses he drops out of consideration.

Middleweight – There has been no mandatory defense since 2012 due to a myriad of reasons. Champion Gennady Golovkin will fight in March. No. 1 contender Jorge Heiland has been at the top spot for two years; his representative, Sebastian Contursi, asked for him to be made the official mandatory challenger to the title. Contursi also stated that Heiland had previously been misrepresented. Suliaman stated that the board would like a four-man tournament to decide the mandatory challenger. No particular fighters were named.

Junior middleweight – Champion Jermell Charlo will face No. 2 contender and Silver titlist Charles Hatley on Feb. 11 or 18.

No. 1 challenger Demetrius Andrade will face WBA titlist Jack Culcay; his promoter, Artie Pelullo, stated he wants his fighter to come back and face the WBC champion in a unification. Sulaiman ordered Vanes Martirosan to face the highest available contender. Lewkowicz said Erickson Lubin and Jorge Cota and the winner of Martirosyan vs. the highest available contender will meet to decide the mandatory challenger.

Welterweight – Champion Danny Garcia will face WBA beltholder Keith Thurman on March 4. No mandatories have taken place since 2014. Amir Khan is the mandatory challenger but he has been injured and asked for a few days to confirm his position. It was motioned for Errol Spence Jr. to face Tim Bradley. If Spence, who is in negotiations to meet Kell Brook for the IBF title, decided to go the IBF route then Bradley will become the mandatory but the division will be confirmed in January when more information is available.

Junior welterweight – Carl Moretti asked for an exception if champion Terence Crawford is offered a superfight. No. 1 Antonio Orozco will face No. 3 Amir Imam if he wins this Friday. Viktor Postol will meet the highest-rated available contender. The two winners will then meet.

Lightweight – Champion Dejan Zlaticanin will face No. 2 Mikey Garcia on Jan. 29. The winner will face Diamond champion Jorge Linares.

Junior lightweight – Champion Francisco Vargas will meet No. 7 Miguel Berchelt on Jan. 28; No. 1 Takashi Muira and No. 2 Miguel Roman will fight on the same date and the winners will meet next.

Featherweight – Sampson Lewkowicz announced that champion Gary Russell Jr. and Interim champion Oscar Escandon will face each other on Feb. 11.

No. 1 Josh Warrington vs. No. 2 Joseph Diaz was proposed, with the winner to become mandatory. Both Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz have confirmed they both want the WBC to be a part of their fight on Jan. 29.

Junior featherweight – Hozumi Hasegawa retired from boxing, leaving the title vacant. No. 1 Rey Vargas and No. 2 Gavin McDonnell will meet for the vacant title.

No. 3 and No. 4 Hugo Ruiz and Julio Ceja have been mandated to meet to decide the first mandatory. Nos. 5 and 6 Anselmo Moreno and Nonito Donaire have been mandated to face each other to decide the second title defense. Sulaiman said that once all participants have been informed, an official decision will be made available at a later date.

Bantamweight – Champion Shinsuke Yamanaka made a mandatory defense in September so is in a voluntary period. Sulaiman asked to wait until January to decide who will face No. 1 Suriyan Sor Rungvisai in a final eliminator.

Junior bantamweight – Champion Roman Gonzalez and No. 1 Carlos Cuadras will meet in March. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is the mandatory challenger and will face the winner.

Flyweight – Roman Gonzalez vacated the title. No. 1 Nawaphon Por Chokchai and No. 2 Juan Hernandez will meet to decide the champion. Daigo Higa will become mandatory challenger. No. 4 Oscar Cantu and No. 5 Muhammad Waseem will meet to decide the second mandatory.

Junior flyweight – Ganigan Lopez is in a voluntary stage. Nos. 2 and 3 Rey Loreto and Jonathan Taconing will meet in an eliminator.

Strawweight – Wanheng Menayothin is in a voluntary stage.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright