Sulaiman reaffirms decision not to strip Vitali, won’t rule out interim for Stiverne
WBC President Jose Sulaiman has reiterated his stance to WBN on current heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko’s position as confusion over his reign as title holder continues.
Previously, Sulaiman told WBN that Vitali would never be stripped of his green belt due to his ambassadorial standing in the sport, a decision that some – including mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne, have been critical of. Klitschko, 41, has not defended his title since last September when defeating Manuel Charr in four rounds in Germany as a mixture of injuries and political engagements have stalled the veteran’s career.
American Stiverne had expected to be given a date for his WBC challenge in the weeks after his dominant April final eliminator win over Chris Arreola, although has since cut a frustrated figure in the background. A win in 2011 over Ray Austin was also billed by the WBC as an eliminator which makes the time elapsed over the title shot all the more ponderous given that Stiverne has more than earned his chance.
Vitali has come out this week and told Sulaiman that his is currently injured and needs special dispensation to defend his strap no earlier than 2014, which the President explained to WBN will be debated at a meeting of its board of governors.
“Vitali asked for more time due to an injury in his right hand,” Sulaiman told World Boxing News.
“We have to consider this as Vitali has been a great heavyweight champion and nobody has been as loyal and decent as him. He has been a real pride of boxing for 10 long years and the WBC must give respect to all those that have been a pride of boxing.
“The WBC has always been very consistent with the rules and I have the legal power to take action on special matters or to veto some agreements, but I
have never done it. I always call for the voting of the board of governors which once again will happen.
“The case of Vitali Klitschko is very special. He has been the heavyweight champion of the world for 10 years on two occasions and has been a model of a champion and an example to the boxers of the world.
“That is the reason why I am calling for a vote to approve the extension, but an interim champion is not discarded at this point.
Sulaiman also stated that talk of Klitschko ending his career without defending his title was far from true when speaking with the Ukrainian recently and the he fully expects him to be back in the ring fully fit next year.
“Contrary to retiring, Vitali said that he would be ready to defend his title when he is ready,” he confirmed. “Right now everything will be decided by the Board of Governors,” he added.