Regardless of what you think of Devin Haney’s “champion” status, it comes with real responsibilities. Multiple outlets report that the WBC have ordered Haney to defend his lightweight title against newly minted mandatory challenger Javier Fortuna. The two sides have until December 13th to come to terms; in case they don’t, a purse bid will be held in Mexico City.
Haney (24-0, 15 KO) was on fire for much of 2019, dominating fellow unbeaten Xolisani Ndongeni before just nuking Antonio Moran with one of the year’s nastiest right hands. The WBC, upon ordering Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell for Mikey Garcia’s former title, put Haney in a four-man mandatory tournament alongside Zaur Abdullaev, Teofimo Lopez, and Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KO). Said tournament fell apart when Lopez elected to pursue the IBF belt, but Haney nonetheless faced and dismantled the very capable Abdullaev in September for the interim title.
His inaugural defense of the interim-turned-regular title was supposed to be a showcase on last weekend’s KSI-Logan Paul card, but he had to settle for an underwhelming decision over Alexis Santiago.
Fortuna is both extremely talented and extremely prone to bizarre circumstances. Five fights after losing his super featherweight belt by comeback knockout to Jason Sosa, he missed the lightweight limit against Robert Easter, only to still give the IBF champ everything he could handle. A move up to 140 ended via wild no contest after he fell out of the ring against Adrian Granados, though he’s since picked up a decision over Sharif Bogere and claimed mandatory status by throttling Jesus Cuellar in two earlier this month.
Swap out Lopez for Cuellar and the WBC’s tournament basically worked.
This is a really good fight for Haney while Lomachenko, his ideal target, deals with the Richard Commey-Teofimo Lopez winner. Fortuna is as inconsistent as they come, but he’s a menace when he’s at his best and should give the younger man a stiff and entertaining challenge.