Following a recent announcement by Amir Khan that the Briton wants to fight three times in 2017, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has reaffirmed his status as the mandatory challenger at welterweight.
Khan, 29, was promised that he would remain number one contender for Danny Garcia at 147 pounds by the WBC when moving up eight pounds to challenge Canelo Alvarez for the middleweight title in May, and despite a prolonged absence, Sulaiman told WBN there was no change.
Garcia himself hasn’t fought since January, although the 28 year-old has a voluntary opportunity before any rematch with Khan takes place. ‘Swift’ originally took Khan out in just four rounds back in 2012 and has consistently been open to the pair sharing the ring again.
On the matter of Khan’s status, Sulaiman was asked directly whether the Bolton man still had claims to a Garcia fight, to which he replied: “Absolutely, Amir Khan is the mandatory contender and that was part of the agreement for him to take part in the middleweight championship against Canelo Alvarez.
“The WBC accepted Khan to be the mandatory contender at welterweight and whenever he’s ready to resume his boxing career he will be confirmed as such.
“Danny Garcia has a voluntary defense and then the mandatory fight with Khan will be ordered,” Sulaiman exclusively told World Boxing News.
Seven months out is a long time for any champion as Garcia is continually linked to a possible unification with Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.
In an earlier interview with WBN, Thurman put Garcia at the top of his wanted list, and with both signed to Al Haymon’s PBC banner, a two-belt battle between the pair is not out of the question later in 2016.