WBC to strip Ryan Garcia vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. winner of interim title if they don’t face Haney
By Dan Ambrose: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman says the winner of the fight between interim lightweight champion Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz Jr. and Ryan Garcia must face lightweight champion Devin Haney next as the mandatory.
If the Diaz vs. Ryan winner fails to agree to the fight against WBC 135-lb champion Haney (26-0, 15 KOs), they’ll be stripped of the interim title, says Sulaiman.
Ryan and Jo Jo Diaz Jr. both took part in WBC lightweight title eliminators in 2021, winning their fights to become the mandatory to Haney.
But rather than use their mandatory position to challenge Haney, they’ve decided not to do so, which has angered Devin and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.
It might not bother the Ryan vs. Jo Jo Diaz Jr. winner if they’re stripped of their interim WBC 135lb title by Sulaiman because it’s a secondary strap and not the real one.
If Sulaiman wants to penalize the Jo Jo Diaz – Ryan Garcia winner for failing to challenge Haney, he would be better off dropping them from the World Boxing Council’s top 15 rankings entirely.
But even that move probably wouldn’t bother either of them. Haney and his promoter Hearn would still gladly defend his WBC title regardless of Ryan or Jo Jo Diaz being removed from the rankings by the governing body.
“If the guy does not want to fight Haney, then the [WBC] interim title will be vacant,” said Mauricio Sulaiman to the DAZN Boxing Show in talking about the fight between Ryan Garcia and Jo Jo Diaz jr.
“But now there’s only one line: if Jojo Diaz and Garcia fight, the winner is mandatory for the champion,” Sulaiman continued.
“If either one of the winners does not accept to unify, then we will just have a world champion in Haney.”
It comes down to money. Ryan Garcia and Jo Jo Diaz Jr. will take fights that make them the most money. If they don’t believe they can make that fighting Haney, they’ll give up the interim WBC title. That’s not a prestigious title.
What Haney needs to do is start fighting some of the other contenders in the division that are willing to fight him. Vasily Lomachenko, Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz, and Masayoshi Nakatani would likely fight Haney.
“Haney has also called out for Teofimo. So it’s something we have been waiting on, and I’m being very flexible and allowing Haney to try to secure the best fight he wants to do,” said Sulaiman.
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