With Andre Ward recently removed as WBC super middleweight champion and placed into "champion in recess" status, the sanctioning body has officially made the June 8 bout between Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban a vacant title fight.
Bika-Periban will be part of the Showtime broadcast that night, with Marcos Maidana meeting Josesito Lopez in the main event. Also on the card, junior middleweight contenders Alfredo Angulo and Erislandy Lara will meet.
Bika (31-5-2, 21 KO) actually gave Ward his toughest pro fight back in 2010, and has gone 3-0 since then, including Showtime wins over Dyah Davis and Nikola Sjekloca. With new trainer Kevin Cunningham, the 33-year-old Bika has ditched some of his wilder brawling habits, and gone back to the basics somewhat, which served him well in easily controlling Sjekloca in February.
Periban (20-0, 13 KO) is a 28-year-old Mexican who was once hyped as a knockout artist, but the power display has been muted somewhat against some tougher foes, and he had some real trouble with Francisco Sierra last November, escaping with a majority decision win.