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WBC strips Jorge Linares of lightweight title

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After a fractured hand derailed Jorge Linares' mandatory title defense against Dejan Zlaticanin, the WBC vacates the title while naming Linares "champion in recess."

Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

The WBC has officially stripped Jorge Linares of his 135 world title after a fractured hand he sustained during training forced him out of his mandatory title defense against Dejan Zlaticanin. With that title defense on the shelf, as Linares recovers from injury, the WBC will allow the 31-year-old Zlaticanin (21-0, 14 KOs) to face 39-year-old Emiliano Marsili (32-0-1, 14 KOs) for the now-vacant title.

This is sort of a tough break for Linares (no pun intended), but the move by the WBC was pretty much expected and the good news is that the WBC named Linares "champion in recess," which will allow him to immediately fight for the title once he's ready to return.

Zlaticanin, of Montenegro, is most recently coming of a fourth-round TKO win over Ivan Redkach last June, and also most notably bested Ricky Burns a year before that. Since then his promoter, Lou DiBella, has openly questioned whether or not Linares or Golden boy have ever wanted this fight against Zlaaticanin, and expressed his skepticism over the circumstances forcing Linares to pull out of the fight.

Meanwhile, Italy's Marsilii is probably a name that very few people, if any, are familiar with. He's undefeated in 33 professional fights, yes, but his last three opponents each had double digit losses, while he's also sporting a resume that contains five winless opponents. Boxrec has him rated No. 27 in the world, with the WBC having him rated at No. 2.