Devin Haney named WBC Champion in recess
By Dean Berman: Devin Haney has been demoted to WBC ‘Champion in recess’ following right shoulder surgery after his recent successful title defense against Alfredo Santiago on November 9.
The World Boxing Council’s Board of Governors voted to have WBC lightweight champion Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) be given the status of ‘Champion in recess’ while he heals up from the surgery. While Haney is healing, his former WBC 135-lb belt will be fought over by #1 Javier Fortuna and #2 Luke Campbell. Haney has the option of facing the winner of the fight if he’s willing and/or physically able to do so.
Campbell to battle Fortuna for the vacant WBC lightweight belt
Fortuna and Campbell have already begun the 30-day negotiation period to setup their fight for the vacant WBC lightweight title. A purse bid is scheduled on Jan.3 of 2020, if the two are unable to reach a deal.
Haney was upgraded from interim WBC lightweight champion by the sanctioning body on October 23 at the same time that they elevated Vasiliy Lomachenko to ‘Franchise lightweight champion.’ Before that occured, Haney, 21, was trying to get a title shot against the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko.
Haney won the interim WBC lightweight belt in stopping Zaur Abdullaev in the 4th round on September 13 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Devin can fight the Fortuna vs. Campbell winner
Once Haney heals, he has the right to request that the WBC let him challenge for his old lightweight title if he wishes. Haney was hoping to face Campbell anyway, so this makes it easier, if he is the one that winds up with his WBC lightweight title. It won’t be as good of a deal if Fortuna beats Campbell, and Haney then faces him.
Haney would be better off going after the WBA lightweight title that is being fought over by Gervonta Davis and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Haney vs. the winner of the Davis-Gamboa fight would be a big fight.
Lomachenko out of reach for Haney as WBC Franchise champion
With the interim WBC title in his possession, Haney was on the doorsteps of Lomachenko, putting a lot of pressure on him to defend his belt. There’s some disagreement on whether it was Lomachenko’s promoters at Top Rank Boxing that asked the WBC to give him the Franchise tag or not. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman says that they were asked to give Lomachenko the Franchise tag.
Lomachenko says that didn’t happen. Whatever the case is, Lomachenko didn’t say no to the status change from him going from WBC lightweight champion to ‘WBC Franchise champion.’