Hearn Disagrees with Loma-Campbell Order
Earlier this week, the WBC ordered a fight for the currently vacant WBC Lightweight Championship between WBA/WBO Champion Vasyl Lomachenko and top-ranked WBC contender Luke Campbell.
Mikey Garcia vacated the WBC Lightweight Title recently, being named champion emeritus, suggesting he will not be returning to the weight class.
The decision by the WBC was a bit of a controversial one, as Lomachenko was not ranked by the WBC and the champion of two rival sanctioning bodies. Also, under normal circumstances, the organization’s top two contenders face off for the vacant title.
That is what Eddie Hearn, promoter of Luke Campbell, was expecting. Hearn was anticipating the WBC to order a fight between Campbell and Devin Haney. Haney, the undefeated lightweight prospect who was ranked third by the WBC previously, is scheduled to compete in the main event of a DAZN card on May 25 following the delay of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight debut.
Zaur Abdullaev was ranked No. 2, but Hearn was worried Ramadan would prevent him from training competing.
To make matters more controversial, the WBC created a four-man tournament to determine a challenger for Lomachenko featuring Haney, Abdullaev, Teofimo Lopez and Javier Fortuna. In its most recent rankings, the WBC dropped Abdullaev to No. 4 and inserted Lopez at No. 3. However, it doesn’t appear Lopez will take part in this tournament, as he is scheduled to compete in an IBF final eliminator.
“What’s worse than that is another rule of the WBC…is if there’s a vacant title, the winner must fight two mandatories. Well now they’ve done a semi-final elimination thing between Haney and Abdullaev, which is an eliminator that was already ordered, and now Fortuna against Teofimo Lopez, who’s actually taken another fight anyway,” Hearn told IFL TV. “But where’s Fortuna come from? It should just be Haney vs Abdullaev for the mandatory. It’s a mess.
“I completely understand why the WBC have done it — because they want Lomachenko as their champion. I understand that, I just don’t think it’s fair for the others. But at some time the shoe will be on the other foot, and one day if the heavyweight WBC championship becomes available – I’m sure they’ll allow [Anthony] Joshua to fight the mandatory for that title.
“But would they allow [IBF champion] Richard Commey to fight for the vacant WBC world title against Luke Campbell? Absolutely not. I just felt they should go down the rankings. What has Lomachenko done to deserve a WBC shot? He’s just won a couple of other [world titles] and just strolled straight in. You’re not ranked if you’re a champion with another governing body – but you know [how it goes].”
Under normal WBC circumstances, a boxer who wins a vacant world title would be required to make back-to-back mandatory defenses. Hearn and other observers believe the WBC made this tournament in order to prevent Lomachenko from quickly vacating the title and pushing back a mandatory defense to 2020 at the earliest.
“The downside with [the WBC’s order], in my opinion, is that it was the wrong decision from the WBC. Because I saw Ron Lewis tweeted today. He said, ‘The WBC, all they’re doing is putting the best fighter in the world in with the mandatory challenger.’ But what about all the other people that have been working up — not just Devin Haney, but Abdullaev, who was number two.
“I’m not sulking because Devin Haney didn’t get the shot. I’m just saying that the whole point in working your way up a governing body, challenging for and defending minor titles, paying sanction fees, being loyal to one governing body, is that when a title frees up, it goes down the ranking and you get your shot. So if I’m Abdullaev and I’ve won the silver title and I’ve defended it a couple times — I’m thinking’ ‘This is great, Mikey Garcia’s vacated, it’s Luke Campbell versus me.’ That’s the rules of the WBC, the first two available fighters [will go for the vacant title].
Original Story: Boxing Scene