The World Boxing Association (WBA) granted a special permit to Yunier Dorticos, current Cruiserweight champion of the body, to unify his belt against Murat Gassiev, International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion of the division, on February 3rd. Meanwhile, the Russian Denis Lebedev, WBA Super Champion at 200 pounds, was declared as champion “in recess”.
This special permit is endorsed by the WBA Rules in article C46, which allows the body to modify or suspend the strict application of the rules, as long as the situation warrants it.
In this case, the WBA considered that, although Dorticos had to face Lebedev, a unification fight is always beneficial for boxing.
This fight is in the semi-final phase of the tournament “World Boxing Super Series”, which generates a tangible benefit that boosts the sport and increases its popularity around the world, giving good financial opportunities to the participants. In addition, Lebedev expressed verbally and in writing his consent to this resolution.
For this reason, the WBA declared the Russian boxer as Cruiserweight Champion “in recess” and approved the fight between Dorticos and Gassiev for the WBA world title.
In addition, the body will allow the winner to dispute the final of the tournament “World Boxing Super Series” on May 11th.
However, the winner of the tournament must negotiate with Lebedev’s team starting on May 13, and they will have 30 days to reach an agreement or the fight will be called to a purse bid.
The parties involved were duly notified by the WBA and, as stated in article C14 of the WBA Rules: “boxers, their representatives and promoters are obligated to know and be familiar with all the Association’s rules”.
WBN Note: The WBA’s decision adds to the WBC ruling that Tony Bellew can invoke his right to fight the winner whenever he chooses. Bellew is the ‘Emeritus Champion’ with the World Boxing Council and intends to to face the tournament victor once his rematch with David Haye is over.
The WBO and IBF are yet to make a ruling on their stipulated challengers.