Hearn to Lomachenko: ‘You CANNOT be undisputed lightweight champion without facing Haney’

By Boxing News - 11/08/2019 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko won’t be recognized by the IBF, WBA and WBO sanctioning bodies as a unification match in his next fight against the winner of the Richard Commey vs. Teofimo Lopez fight.

Hearn says Lomachenko’s WBC Franchise tag doesn’t count for being a REAL title, since it’s non-transferable and can’t be won or lost by a champion. The WBC champion is Devin Haney, point blank and period. Lomachenko’s WBC Franchise title is arguably an honorary title. It’s like having an honorary degree from a university.

It’s not a degree you can use to get a job. In other words, the REAL WBC lightweight title is the one that the unbeaten Haney (23-0, 15 KOs) has in his possession. What Lomachenko has with his Franchise tag is the equivalent of fools gold.

Hearn: The WBC decided Haney CAN’T touch Lomachenko

“When Devin Haney had three regional belts with the WBC, WBO and WBA, I asked him what he wanted to do, and they said, ‘We want Lomachenko.’ So we want to chase him down with the WBC,” said Hearn.

“We did everything asked of him to chase down Lomachenko. When they went and ordered him to fight [Zaur] Abdullaev in a final eliminator, he went and schooled him at Madison Square Garden to become the mandatory for Lomachenko.

“They [WBC] then decided Devin Haney can’t touch Lomachenko. So we’re going to make him Franchise champion, and Devin Haney world champion. We’re delighted he’s world champion, and he’s earned that right by chasing the very best,” said Hearn.

Haney says Lomachenko wanted the World Boxing Council to give him the Franchise tag. With the WBC Franchise tag, Lomachenko is freed up from having to deal with the responsibilities and burden of defending it against the mandatory challengers on an annual basis and risk losing it.

The WBC doesn’t require that the Franchise tag holder make mandatory defenses, which means they can fight whoever they please. What’s worse is the Franchise tag can never be lost. It’s an honorary thing.

Haney didn’t want WBC title GIVEN to him

Haney put in effort to try and earn a title shot against Lomachenko by beating Zaur Abdullaev for the interim WBC lightweight title last September. With the interim WBC lightweight title, Haney was positioned to force a title shot against Lomachenko. However, the World Boxing Council then turned around and elevated Lomachenko to lightweight ‘Franchise Champion’, and made Haney their new WBC 135-lb champ.

Hearn wanted Haney to be able to fight Lomachenko for the WBC lightweight belt rather than having it given to him.  There are already people saying that Haney isn’t the true WBC champion because he didn’t fight Lomachenko for the title. The WBC made it impossible for Haney to earn the title in a traditional way by making Lomachenko their Franchise champ.

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Lomachenko CANNOT be undisputed as Franchise champion

“I would like to say one thing. Vasiliy Lomachenko is a great champion, and his dream is to be undisputed,” said Hearn. “You CANNOT be undisputed champion as the Franchise champion. The other governing bodies will not acknowledge that as a unification match-up.

“If Vasiliy Lomachenko wants to be the undisputed world champion, he has to fight Devin Haney. Devin has got to get through Saturday night,” said Hearn.

It’s unclear whether Hearn knows for a FACT that the IBF/WBA/WBO sanctioning bodies won’t recognize Lomachenko as the undisputed lightweight. If those sanctioning bodies have told Hearn that, then Loma is wasting his time facing the Commey-Lopez winner.

Devin Haney will be in MAJOR marquee fights in 2020

“In 2020, you’ll see this young man in all the major marquee fights in boxing,” said Hearn. “He’s going to be around for a long, long time. He’s going to be a multi-weight champion, and I believe he’s going to be the next superstar in American boxing. So no pressure on Saturday night for Devin Haney,” said Hearn.

There are some interesting fights Haney can take part in next year, as long as Hearn can work with other promoters. One fight boxing fans want to see if Haney vs. Gervonta Davis. However, that might not happen though, as Gervonta is fighting Yuriorkis Gamboa for the vacant WBA title on December 28.

If Tank Davis wins that belt, he probably won’t bother to face Haney. It’s not just Gervonta that would keep the Haney fight from happening. Davis’ promoters at Mayweather Promotions would likely block the Haney fight, considering that would be a risky fight.

Hearn is likely to match Haney against Luke Campbell in 2020, and that’s a match that would be big for British boxing fans.  People in the U.S would be less interested in seeing Haney fight the recently beaten Campbell. The U.S fans have seen Campbell beaten by Lomachenko and Jorge Linares already, and he’s not viewed highly with them.

Haney is defending his WBC title this Saturday, November 9 against Alfredo Santiago (12-0, 4 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Haney-Santiago will be taking place on the undercard of KSI vs. Logan Paul 2, and it’ll be shown on DAZN.