THE WBC have ordered Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell [pictured above on left alongside Jamie McDonnell] and unbeaten Mexican Rey Vargas to contest the WBC super-bantamweight title, which became vacant when Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa announced his retirement. McDonnell’s promoter, Eddie Hearn – who made a flying visit to the WBC Convention earlier in the week – is currently working on a date for the contest, which will take place early in 2017.
In the same division, eliminators for the first two mandatory positions have been ordered between Mexican rivals Hugo Ruiz and Julio Ceja (the pair have already fought twice, with a win apiece), as well as Nonito Donaire of the Philippines and Panama’s Anselmo Moreno.
At super-middleweight, it was confirmed that the winner of the January 14 unification bout between WBC boss Badou Jack and his IBF counterpart, James DeGale, will meet Liverpool’s Callum Smith in their next bout. There was some concern that the IBF would enforce their mandatory, but they are willing to wait until Smith has received his chance.
The WBC will also sanction – of sorts – the January 28 rematch between WBA featherweight champion Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz by awarding the winner their ‘Diamond’ belt. Also at 126lbs: Champion Gary Russell Jnr confirmed he will accept the challenge of Interim titlist Oscar Escandon of Colombia on February 11; and Leeds’ Josh Warrington – who recently made the switch from Hearn’s Matchroom to Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions – is set to take on American Joseph Diaz to decide the mandatory challenger for the lightweight title.
In the light-heavyweight division, veteran Lucian Bute will get a shot at Adonis Stevenson if he beats Eleider Alvarez on February 24. Stevenson must meet the winner before the end of April.
At welterweight, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman proposed that Timothy Bradley and Errol Spence would meet in an eliminator. However, with Spence in talks with IBF champion Kell Brook, the proposal was rejected. Amir Khan retains his No.1 rating for the time being, but has been granted time to decide what division he will campaign in.
At middleweight, a representative of No.1 contender Jorge Sebastian Heiland requested a shot at Gennady Golovkin to be ordered, but that was rejected in favour of a four-man tournament to decide the Kazak’s mandatory challenger. As well as Heiland, Curtis Stevens is likely to be involved. The details will be finalised in January.
At super-welterweight, Jermell Charlo will defend his WBC title against Charles Hatley on February 11 or 18.