Shakur Stevenson’s scale fail ahead of his September 23rd victory over Robson Conceicao left both the WBC and WBO 130-pound belts vacant. When the WBC released its latest set of rankings on the 25th, O’Shaquie Foster sat at the top thanks to his eliminator victory over Muhammad Yakubov in March, with Conceicao one spot behind.
One would think that Mauricio Sulaimain and Co. would order Foster vs Conceicao for the belt, and while I’m ordinarily against fighters receiving title shots off of losses, the extenuating circumstances would make that plenty palatable.
That’s not what’s happening. The WBC announced last evening that they’d approved a request from featherweight champion Rey Vargas to fight Foster for the title and begun the negotiation period.
It’s unclear at the moment whether Vargas (36-0, 22 KO) will vacate the belt he took from Mark Magsayo in July. The answer should be “obviously,” but this is the WBC we’re talking about, and they’ve made favoritism into a fine art. If that is the case, then Magsayo’s featherweight venture ends with just two fights and no title defense.
It is, however, nice to see Foster (19-2, 11 KO) get his shot. He had some rough early career losses and spent a while on the sidelines due to promotional issues, but he’s more than earned this opportunity.
As for Conceicao, he was no. 2 with the WBO when their September 16th rankings came out. If he doesn’t end up demoted for losing to Stevenson, he’s in position to fight Archie Sharp for their title, so at least there’s a silver lining.