Championship vacancies can be filled in the following two ways:
THE RING’s Nos. 1 and 2 contenders fight one another.
If a fight between the Nos. 1 and 2 contenders can not be made and No. 1 fights No. 3, the winner may be awarded THE RING belt if the Editorial Board deems the No. 3 contender worthy. Here are the seven situations in which a champion can lose his belt:
The Champion loses a fight in the weight class in which he is champion.
The Champion moves to another weight class (for more than one fight).
The Champion does not schedule a fight in any weight class for 18 months.
The Champion does not schedule a fight at his championship weight for 18 months (even if he fights at another weight).
The Champion does not schedule a fight with a Top-5 contender from any weight class for two years.
The Champion retires.
The Champion tests positive for a performance-enhancing substance and is fined, suspended or otherwise penalized by the proper authority (athletic commission or sanctioning body).
Results. This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence over all others.
Performance. How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.
Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.
THE RING Ratings are compiled by the magazine’s Editorial Board, with the participation of THE RING Ratings Panel of boxing journalists from around the world.