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Dubois and Eubank lose WBA Interim belts as sanctioning body cleans up its act

Dubois

Daniel Dubois and Chris Eubank Jr. are among 11 fighters to lose their WBA Interim titles after the sanctioning body decided to dissolve the much-maligned belts with immediate effect.

The WBA has been a frequent focus of derision in recent times due to its insistence on recognising up to three world champions in every division via its three-tiered ‘Super’, ‘Regular’ and ‘Interim’ title system. 

Some divisions, like heavyweight and welterweight, have even had an additional ‘Champion In Recess’. Every belt brings a sanctioning fee so the WBA’s intentions have seemed rather transparent, especially when its belt holders in the same division have fought within a fortnight, rather than face each other.

But now the WBA has promised to clean up its act by adding clarity to its world championship status, stung by the uproar after Gabriel Maestre escaped with a mystifying points decision over Mykal Fox in an Interim 147lbs title fight on August 7. Under increased scrutiny, WBA President Gilberto Mendoza finally decided to reduce the number of championship belts, over five-and-a-half years since promising exactly the same thing in an interview with Dan Rafael at ESPN.com.

The first casualties will be the organisation’s Interim champions who will now immediately forfeit their status in favour of a No.1 ranking or a place in an official title eliminator. Losing their WBA Interim titles are: Daniel Dubois (heavyweight); Robin Krasniqi (light-heavyweight); Chris Eubank Jr (middleweight); Alberto Puello (super-lightweight); Rolando Romero (lightweight); Chris Colbert (super-featherweight); Michael Conlan (featherweight); Raeese Aleem (super-bantamweight); Luis Concepcion (flyweight); Daniel Matellon (light-flyweight) and Erick Rosa (strawweight). The organisation’s ‘Gold’ champions will also be demoted from their special status above the world title rankings and filter into the sanctioning body’s normal ratings.

In a move in the right direction after years of confusion and outrage, the WBA confirmed the move in a statement.

“The World Boxing Association (WBA) decided to leave without effect the Interim championships of the organization through a resolution published on Wednesday, August 25, while the Gold champions will no longer appear “above the rankings”. Instead, they will occupy a place in it among the rated boxers.

“The decision was taken by the Championships Committee and is another step in the plan to reduce titles that was announced by the president of the organization, Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, a few weeks ago.

“After a thorough analysis of each division, the WBA has announced several mandatory fights and box-offs between selected fighters. While the Interim championships are no longer in effect and the Interim title fights that had been approved will now be eliminator fights, the WBA has also announced a number of mandatory and box-off fights between selected fighters.

“Based on the rules detailed above, the now former Interim champions will no longer defend the titles. At the discretion of the President and the Championships Committee, they will be considered as mandatory contenders to the world champion of the division, either to fight for the championship as an official challenger directly or, depending on the case, to participate in a box-off elimination bout to determine the official challenger.

“In the case of reigning Gold champions, they will no longer appear “above the rankings”; however, they will occupy a place in the lists as from the next world ranking. They will be ranked just below the former interim champion or the official challenger, while they may be ordered to participate in eliminations or box-offs depending on the division.”

Main image: Daniel Dubois/Queensberry Promotions.