During its annual convention, this year in Baku, Azerbaijan, the WBC has officially discussed the mandatory challenger status for all of its champions. Let’s have a quick rundown of what we’re now looking at...
Deontay Wilder was due to make a voluntary title defense against Luis Ortiz, who would promptly test positive for banned substances — so that fight has now been scrapped. Now mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne will get a chance to avenge his January 2015 loss to Wilder next month, where he’ll be stepping-in for the Showtime main event. Stiverne lost a wide decision to Wilder in their first meeting, almost three years ago, and has fought only once since. Yet he’s still, somehow, found his way to being the WBC’s No. 1 contender. Let’s just get this over with.
Titlist Mairis Briedis just beat Mike Perez last weekend in the opening round of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Briedis has the potential to unify a handful of titles in this tourney so the WBC has elected to hold off on naming a mandatory challenger until the cruiserweight tournament concludes.
Champion Adonis Stevenson hasn’t made a mandatory title defense in four years. Four years! That run looks to be finally coming to an end though, as Stevenson is being lined up to take on mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez this December. Has anyone had a softer title reign than Stevenson in recent years? That’s a discussion for another day...
Titleholder David Benavidez just beat Ronald Gavril by split decision last month to claim the vacant 168-pound belt. The two are expected to meet in a rematch but a date has not yet been set.
The WBC has officially ordered a rematch between its titleholder Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez who fought in a thrilling showdown last month. The split draw left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths, but it was a good fight and there is demand for a rematch — which both fighters also want. The rematch is being targeted for Cinco de Mayo next year while the No. 1 contender, Jermall Charlo, will be the mandatory for the victor.
Champion Jermell Charlo (the other twin) is already scheduled to make his mandatory defense against No. 1 contender Erickson Lubin next weekend in a stacked Showtime tripleheader. Meanwhile, Maciej Sulecki and Jack Culcay will battle it out for a chance to fight Vanes Martirosyan in a final eliminator match.
Unified titleholder Keith Thurman is on the sidelines with an elbow injury and isn’t expected to return until at least next year. In the meanwhile No. 1 contender Shawn Porter will take on Adrian Granados on Nov. 4 for the WBC’s ‘Silver’ title.
Undisputed champion Terence Crawford is expected to vacate all of his belts and move up to welterweight after cleaning out 140. If that comes to fruition the WBC already has plans in mind to fill the vacancy. Amir Imam would fight Jose Carlos Ramirez for the vacant strap while Viktor Postol and Regis Prograis will fight for the interim title. Ramirez already has a fight scheduled against Mike Reed next month, so obviously needs to win that bout first, but if so the winners of Imam-Ramirez and Postol-Prograis will face off.
Almost cut and dry. The WBC has ordered Mikey Garcia and Jorge Linares to square off. That said, it’s no guarantee that Mikey Garcia returns to lightweight after moving up to face Adrien Broner, and then calling out Miguel Cotto at 154lbs, and Linares won’t be back in action until the calendar year turns over.
Titleholder Miguel Berchelt will be making a voluntary defense against Orlando Salido in December. Meanwhile, Francisco Vargas and Jhonny Gonzalez will face off in a final eliminator match to become the mandatory challenger.
The WBC will be ordering titlist Gary Russell Jr. to take on No. 1 contender JoJo Diaz. The sanctioning body says it will order that fight to take place around next May.
Champion Rey Vargas is expected to fight mandatory contender Julio Ceja next, who won the final eliminator. Meanwhile, Diego De La Hoya and Hugo Ruiz will participate in final eliminator to become the mandatory to the Vargas-Ceja winner.
This one is a little up in the air. Titleholder Luis Nery stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka in August to claim the belt but would then test positive for banned substances. The WBC has yet to make an official ruling on that situation but it’s very possible that Nery gets stripped of that world title (with it perhaps going back to Yamanaka). Emmanuel Rodríguez will also be ordered to face Petch Sor Chitpattana to become the next mandatory challenger.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who is coming off a huge knockout win over Roman Gonzalez, has requested a voluntary defense of his title. He’ll have that fight before taking on mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada.
Champion Daigo Higa will be making an voluntary title defense against Thomas Masson later this month. His mandatory challenger has yet to be determined.
Champion Ken Shiro is scheduled to take on mandatory challenger Pedro Guevara on Oct. 22. The winner of that bout must face Ganigan Lopez next.
Titleholder Wanheng Menayothin is expected to return in November to make a voluntary title defense. Leroy Estrada remains his mandatory challenger but no word on when that fight will be ordered.