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WBC updates mandatory status for all its world titles

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman clarifies the mandatory challenger situation for each weight class.

Charlo v  Jackson Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

The WBC attempts to make clear the status of each mandatory challenger for all of its world title belts. Here’s the complete rundown:

Heavyweight - Deontay Wilder, who was the mandatory challenger to then-titlist Bermane Stiverne, claimed the heavyweight crown by convincingly beating Stiverne. In 2015 Alexander Povetkin emerged as the next mandatory challenger but his fight with Wilder was nixed over his failed drug tests. After a lot of legal razzle dazzle Povetkin was then lined-up to face Stiverne in a final eliminator match. Povetkin would once again fail a pre-fight doping test, canceling that match and the WBC ultimately just installed Stiverne as Wilder’s next mandatory challenger. Wilder should be fighting him next unless he can work out a deal for a unification fight with Joseph Parker.

Cruiserweight - Mairis Breidis won his final eliminator bout to become mandatory challenger to Tony Bellew, who has requested an exemption so that he could fight David Haye at heavyweight last weekend. So the WBC ordered an interim title fight between Breidis and Marco Huck as they wait for Bellew to inform them about his intentions on returning to the division.

Light Heavyweight - Eleider Alvarez won his final eliminator match and is now the mandatory for titlist Adonis Stevenson. Some expect that with both Alvarez and Stevenson aligned with promoter Yvon Michel, there will be a step-aside deal so that Stevenson can defend against Seanie Monaghan in April with Alvarez getting a shot at the winner.

Super Middleweight - After Badou Jack vacated his title so that he could move up to light heavyweight, the WBC ordered Anthony Dirrell and Callum Smith to fight for the now-vacant title. The winner of that fight must make two mandatory defenses, with Avni Yildirim being first in line.

Middleweight - Unified titlist Gennady Golovkin is set to take on Daniel Jacobs next weekend. The WBC will order an upcoming final eliminator match which has yet to be determined. Whomever wins that eliminator will be the mandatory for the GGG-Jacobs winner, but GGG/Jacobs will have other mandatories as well since Golovkin currently holds multiple world titles.

Junior Middleweight - Or ‘super welterweight’ as the WBC calls it. Jermell Charlo won a vacant title against John Jackson last May and hasn’t defended the strap since. He’ll be taking on Charles Hatley next, but that bout has been postponed from this weekend. The winner Charlo-Hately will have to face Erickson Lubin while Vanes Martyrosian will face Ishe Smith for the other mandatory position.

Welterweight: Amir Khan was long holding onto the WBC mandatory position but instead opted to move up in weight to face Canelo Alvarez and has since been injured. The WBC is now making Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter a final eliminator match. The winner will be Keith Thurman’s mandatory challenger.

Junior Welterweight - Terence Crawford will be making a voluntary defense on May 20 against an opponent to be determined. The winner must face mandatory challenger Amir Imam.

Lightweight - WBA titleholder and WBC “champion in recess” Jorge Linares will be rematching Anthony Crolla on March 25. The winner will have to face Mikey Garcia next, but with Linares having another world title, he could have some other options.

Junior Lightweight - Miguel Berchelt, who just won the WBC world title from Francisco Vargas, will have to take on mandatory challenger Takashi Miura.

Featherweight - Titlist Gary Russell Jr. will be taking on interim champion Oscar Escandon as his mandatory defense.

Junior Featherweight - Rey Vargas has won the vacant title so therefore must make two mandatory defenses. Julio Ceja will face Anselmo Moreno to determine the first mandatory challenger and Hugo Ruiz will face TBD for the second mandatory position.

Bantamweight - Shinsuke Yamanaka will have to make a mandatory defense against the winner of Luis Nery vs. Jesus Martinez, who will fight this weekend.

Junior Bantamweight - Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is scheduled to face Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in his next outing. The winner must take on mandatory challenger Carlos Cuadras.

Flyweight - Juan Hernandez, who also won a vacant title, must also make two mandatory defenses. Daigo Higa from Japan will be the first. The second has yet to be determined.

Junior Flyweight - Titlist Ganigan Lopez is waiting to make his voluntary defense. The WBC will order a final eliminator bout to determine the next mandatory challenger.

Strawweight - AKA ‘minimumweight.’ Saul Juarez vs. Leroy Estrada have been ordered as final eliminator match. The winner gets current titleholder Wanheng Menayothin.

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