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WBC president says Bermane Stiverne has to face Deontay Wilder before Wladimir Klitschko

Bermane Stiverne won't get his shot at Wladimir Klitschko next if he wants to keep his WBC belt.

Stephen Dunn

Ever since Vitali Klitschko announced that he had finished boxing in order to pursue a career in politics, his younger brother Wladimir has stated a desire to finally have the WBC strap wrapped around his waist. Because of the brothers' pact to never fight each other, the WBC title eluded Wlad while Vitali defended it through the years. Finally, with Bermane Stiverne's stoppage victory over Chris Arreola to net the WBC crown this past Saturday, it appeared that Wladimir may get a chance to hold all four of the major heavyweight titles. However, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has some bad news for Wladimir, informing everyone that Stiverne must first face undefeated Deontay Wilder.

Sulaiman, via World Boxing News:

"The agreements must be respected. We made that decision at the last convention and Deontay Wilder is the mandatory challenger. So Bermane Stiverne has to face him first."

Truthfully, I have zero issue with a Stiverne - Wilder fight. It would be a serious step up for Wilder, who has KO'd all 31 opponents that he has faced thus far. Stiverne can at least crack a little, and there have always been questions about Wilder's punch resistance. We haven't seen him tested yet, and he would have a serious height advantage over Stiverne, but it would be a real fight.

As for Klitschko, he could always fight the winner, I assume. However, I doubt Wilder's handlers would want to risk him against Klitschko should he win. It would be far easier to continue building him up as an undefeated monster who knocks everyone out, never mind the quality of the opposition.

It also looks like Klitschko will be fighting Kubrat Pulev in September for his IBF mandatory. That's another solid matchup, Pulev may be his toughest opponent in years (one can only hope). The heavyweight division just may have some fun fights on the horizon.

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