By Jeff Aranow: Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) will be fighting #2 WBC Vanes Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) in a WBC 154-pound final eliminator match, as ordered by the World Boxing Council to determine a mandatory for WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs).
Sulecki is ranked No.1 by the WBC, but he’s going to have to earn the WBC mandatory position by going through the always tough 31-year-old Martirosyan. The 28-year-old Sulecki has been looking good recently in beating former WBA light middleweight champion Jack Culcay by a 10 round unanimous decision last year on October 21 in Newark, New Jersey.
Sulecki did a better job beating the 3-year-old Culcay than former WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade did last March. He beat Culcay by a narrow 12 round split decision. Sulecki dominated Culcay in winning by the scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. Sulecki’s other recent victories came against Michi Munoz, Damian Esquiel Bonelli, Hugo Centeno Jr. and Derick Findley.
”Champion Jermell Charlo (USA) made two mandatory defenses. A final elimination bout between Vanes Martirosyan and Maciej Sulecki has been ordered,” said WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.
Martirosyan would seem to be the least likely fighter in the WBC’s top 15 to be battling in an eliminator for a chance to challenge WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo in 2018. Martirosyan has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights since 2015, and one of those defeats came against Jermell. Martirosyan has not been a particularly busy fighter in the last 2 years, and he clearly hasn’t been effective in posting a 1-2 record in his last 3 fights.
Martirosyan hasn’t fought 1 ½ years since his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of WBA World junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara on May 21, 2016. Martirosyan didn’t fight at all in 2017. In 2016, Martirosyan fought just once. It’s open to question whether Martirosyan is still interested enough in the sport to be taking an active role in staying busy. His lack of activity in the last 2 years would suggest that he’s lost his motivation needed to stay active. If Martirosyan loses this fight, he’ll have lost 3 out of his last 4 fights. That’s pretty bad.
Jermell Charlo has fought consecutive mandatory challengers in his last 2 fights in beating Erickson Lubin and Charles Hatley by knockout. Charlo’s 1st round knockout of Lubin was a real shocker last year on October 14. Charlo is beginning to build a reputation as being an explosive puncher with good hand speed and excellent punching power.
In other WBC action, WBA/WBC 147lb. champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman will be defending his titles against Jessie Vargas on April 16 in a voluntary defense. In the meantime, #2 WBC Danny Garcia fights #11 WBC Brandon Rios in a final eliminator match. Thurman’s WBC mandatory is already set with #1 WBC Shawn Porter waiting for his title shot. Porter will need to wait for the injured Thurman to get past Vargas before he can get his title shot. The WBC is showing patience with the often injured Thurman by not stripping him of his WBC 147lb title and giving him the status of Emeritus champion.