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WBC names Callum Smith mandatory challenger, orders Ilunga Makabu-Krzysztof Wlodarczyk

Benavidez has been the WBC “diamond” champion since 2017

Callum Smith v John Ryder - WBA World, WBC Diamond & Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight Title Fight Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

The WBC has released a fresh set of rulings for its myriad champions, updating the orders released during their annual convention in October. Two interesting pieces of news emerged from the update:

  1. Callum Smith, who retained his WBA “super” super middleweight title by the skin of his teeth two Saturdays ago, is now the mandatory challenger for whoever wins between David Benavidez and Avni Yildirim on January 25th.
  2. #1 cruiserweight Ilunga Makabu has been ordered to face #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk for the vacant title, as #2 Krzysztof Glowacki is in line to challenge for the vacant WBO belt and #3 Kevin Lerena is “unavailable.”

Smith (27-0, 19 KO) has been the WBC “diamond” champion since his 2017 defeat of Erik Skoglund in the opening round of the WBSS. It’s been a fairly meaningless title since, overshadowed by the WBA belt he knocked out George Groves to claim, but it seems the WBC were just playing the long game. Him vs. Benavidez, who’s expected to retain the belt with ease, is a dream fight for the division even with Smith’s recent struggles and has a real chance of happening, as the “WBA has confirmed that they will respect the WBC ruling and will collaborate in reciprocity.”

Makabu (26-2, 24 KO) vs. Wlodarczyk (58-4-1, 39 KO) isn’t quite as must-see. “Diablo” turned 38 in September and has only one win of note since his 2017 knockout loss to Murat Gassiev in the WBSS, a decision over Olanrewaju Durodola. There’s also no guarantee that this fight will even happen, as Makabu recently made the historically stupid decision to sign with Don King.

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