The World Boxing Council have confirmed to WBN that lightweight champion Jorge Linares is allowed one voluntary defense of his belt before the Venezuelan has to face new mandatory Dejan Zlaticanin.
Montenegrin Zlaticanin, 31, stopped previously undefeated Ivan Redkach in four rounds on Saturday night to cement his chance against Linares having extended his undefeated record to 21 straight victories in Alabama.
The southpaw contender will have to wait until Linares takes on another top contender though before gaining his opportunity at a maiden world title on the back of some impressive performances. Zlaticanin had already beaten Petr Petrov and Ricky Burns before taking care of Redkach and is just months away from his defining night.
Linares recently defended his title against Kevin Mitchell in the UK and now has the firm option to rematch the Briton as Mitchell retained his place in the WBC top ten when the June rankings were released. Mitchell sits at number three, but will now be boosted to second place as number Redkach was soundly beaten.
Another helping of Linares v Mitchell, possibly in the UK again on the Kell Brook undercard would already have approval if the title holder decided to go down that road – with Zlaticanin waiting in the wings for the victor.
“Champion Linares will have one voluntary defense and the winner must face Zalticanin,” the WBC told World Boxing News.