The sanctioning body should have some updates soon.
Mauricio Sulaiman of the WBC says there will be decisions made soon regarding the situations with heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte and the state of their lightweight title, currently held by Mikey Garcia, with Luke Campbell as mandatory challenger.
Whyte (25-1, 18 KO) and promoter Eddie Hearn recently expressed outrage and confusion over what is not really all that complex a situation at heavyweight. A bit messy, sure, but simple enough when you break it down. To make it quick:
- Deontay Wilder holds the WBC heavyweight title, and was ordered to rematch Tyson Fury
- The WBC at the same time ordered Whyte, who is ranked No. 1 contender by the WBC and holds their “silver” title, to face mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale for a ridiculous “interim” title
- Fury pulled out of negotiations for the Wilder fight when he signed with Top Rank
- The WBC then ordered that Wilder face mandatory challenger Breazeale, who had been mandatory challenger since his Nov. 2017 win over Eric Molina
The befuddlement of Hearn in particular over how on earth Breazeale (20-1, 18 KO) was named mandatory challenger could be genuine, to be fair.
It’s entirely possible that the promoter either forgot (it’s been a while) or wasn’t clear on Breazeale having sat on that mandatory for over a year now. That would make some sense if you’re Hearn and you’re focused on Whyte in this situation, given that the WBC installed Whyte as No. 1-ranked contender, and Whyte has held that dumb “silver” belt since Oct. 2017, when he beat Robert Helenius. He’s even defended it three times, beating Lucas Browne, Joseph Parker, and Dereck Chisora.
So it’s kind of easy to see how Whyte and Hearn might get pissed off by what the WBC has done here. I mean, how would you feel when it became clear that you had given the WBC all that sanctioning fee money and it turned out the “silver” belt didn’t actually mean much of anything other than a spot as No. 1 contender, which it also turned out didn’t mean anything?
By comparison to Whyte fighting regularly and defending that “silver” belt, all Breazeale had to do was not fight for 13 months, not lose to Carlos Negron when he did get back in the ring, then get a little lucky with Fury bailing out of the scene for the time being. And now he’s got his title shot on May 18. Like we said in another post, it all makes sense, but also doesn’t, because this is boxing stuff; particularly, it’s sanctioning body boxing stuff, the dumbest boxing stuff of all.
Anyway, Whyte wants to be made mandatory for the Wilder-Breazeale winner, and he’s got a very strong case, at least if you’re using normal logic, which it’s no guarantee the WBC will. They probably will, because there just aren’t that many credible heavyweight fighters out there and Whyte has a lot of value with the Joshua/Wilder/Fury split mess at the top of the division right now, but it’s certainly not a lock.
As for the issue at lightweight, that’s not quite as twisty-turny; either Mikey Garcia is going to drop back down to 135 to defend the belt, or he’s not.
Garcia (39-1, 30 KO) has held the WBC lightweight title since knocking out Dejan Zlaticanin in Jan. 2017, and the organization has been very generous in respecting Garcia’s ambitions.
They let him keep the title when he moved up to 140 for a money fight in the summer of 2017 against Adrien Broner, and through a March 2018 fight at 140, where he won the IBF junior welterweight belt from Sergey Lipinets.
At that point, Garcia had to decide whether to defend at 135 or 140, and he chose 135, coming back for a fight with Robert Easter Jr, unifying the WBC and IBF belts in July 2018. The WBC also let him keep their lightweight title when he moved up to 147 for a fight with Errol Spence Jr, even lovingly crafting a WBC “diamond” title to be awarded to the winner of that fight.
(The IBF, meanwhile, put it to Garcia to make a decision about their lightweight title last fall, and he vacated instead of going to purse bid for an ordered defense against Richard Commey.)
Spence beat Garcia badly, and now Garcia has to decide his future. He could stay at 147 and try to prove he can fight at that weight, he could move back to 140, he could move back to 135. Moving back to 135 and staying at 147 both seem like bad ideas for different reasons, but who knows?
Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KO) is the WBC mandatory challenger, the result of his September victory over Yvan Mendy in an eliminator bout. Campbell fought recently, staying busy with a win over Adrian Yung.
If Garcia does decide to stay at 135, then we move to the headache of actually trying to put together a fight between Garcia, a PBC fighter, and Campbell, a Matchroom/DAZN fighter. But few if any expect Garcia to drop two weight classes right away and face Campbell, anyway.
So if/when Garcia vacates, then Campbell will face the next highest-ranked willing and available contender for the vacant title. There will reportedly be news on that within the next couple weeks, as he’s respectfully giving Garcia time to make the decision.