At its 57th WBC Annual Convention in Cancún, Mexico, the WBC Board of Governors: (a) designated Vasiliy Lomachenko as WBC Franchise Champion; and (2) elevated then reigning WBC Interim Lightweight Champion Devin Haney to WBC World Lightweight Champion.
The WBC then approved the fight on November 2, 2019, between No. 5 ranked Javier Fortuna of Dominican Republic and Jesus Cuéllar of Argentina as a Final Eliminator to determine the Mandatory Challenger of the Lightweight Division. Fortuna defeated Cuéllar and became Mandatory Challenger to Haney.
On November 9, 2019, Haney defeated Alfredo Santiago in a voluntary defense of this WBC World Championship and retained his title but became injured.
On December 13, 2019, the WBC named Devin Haney WBC Champion-In-Recess due to his injury and ordered Mandatory Challenger Javier Fortuna to fight Luke Campbell for the WBC World Lightweight Championship.
On January 27, 2020, the Fortuna and Campbell teams officially notified the WBC that they had reached an agreement concerning the Fortuna v. Campbell fight. The fight was contracted and scheduled to take place on April 14, 2020. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the fight did not take place.
On March 23, 2020, the Haney camp officially notified the WBC that Champion Haney was completely recovered from his injury, and was willing, ready and able to fight. Accordingly, and in light of the fact that the Fortuna v. Campbell bout never took place, they made a formal request that the WBC reinstate Devin Haney as WBC World Lightweight Champion.
On April 8, 2020, per the WBC specific request, the Haney camp produced to the WBC medical clearance documentation that confirms that Haney is fit to box and to resume his career.
The WBC Rules & Regulations give the WBC the absolute discretion to designate Champions and Mandatory Contenders and also to withdraw any such designation. Specifically Rule 3.16, provides as follows:
“3.16 Withdrawal or Suspension of Recognition. The privilege of competing for a WBC designation or title, goodwill, trademarks, and other intellectual property associated with any WBC championship or right, the WBC belts, or WBC-sanctioned bout, and the WBC titles and designations, are each owned exclusively by the WBC. Therefore, the WBC may suspend or withdraw recognition of a boxer as a WBC champion, challenger, or contender, as it may determine in its sole discretion, for any reason justifying suspension or withdrawal, including but not limited to violation of the WBC Constitution or these Rules & Regulations, holding the title of or fighting for another organization without the approval or sanction of the WBC, or conviction and/or imprisonment for a crime involving moral turpitude or any other serious moral offense.” (emphasis added)
Pursuant to, and consistent with, the governing WBC Rules & Regulations, and after fully considering the special circumstances which the present global health crisis has created, the WBC Board of Governors issued the following ruling:
1. Reinstate Devin Haney as WBC World Lightweight Champion;
2.Grant Champion Haney a voluntary defense of that Championship;
3.Sanction the Javier Fortuna vs. Luke Campbell bout to be for the WBC Interim World Lightweight Championship and Mandatory Challenger of the division; and
4.Order the winner of Champion Haney’s voluntary defense to fight the winner of the Fortuna vs. Campbell bout immediately after that voluntary defense takes place without any intervening bout.