Devin Haney confirmed he would move up to 140lbs to challenge champion, Regis Prograis, but put in a request with the WBC to hold on to his 135 belt whilst doing so.
Typically, when a beltholder decides to jump up in weight, his or her titles become vacant as the new campaign begins.
The 24-year-old’s request for this not to be the case prompted both Prograis and his lightweight mandatory challenger, Shakur Stevenson, to say it was unfair.
The WBC committee has now voted on the matter, and is willing to name him ‘Champion in Recess.’
“The WBC Board of Governors voted in favour of:
(1) granting Champion Haney’s petition to fight Champion Prograis for the WBC Super Lightweight World Championship;
(2) placing Champion Haney as Champion-in-Recess in the Lightweight Division;
(3) ordering a bout between Lightweight Mandatory Challenger Shakur Stevenson and the highest available contender in that division.”
After Haney fights Prograis later this year – tentatively October – win or lose, he will have the option to move back down to lightweight and fight for the full WBC title against either Stevenson or a fighter who has beaten Stevenson.
The terms for that fight will be a 50/50 purse split, and will make the ‘Champion in Recess’ tag redundant when a winner is announced.
Although Haney is guaranteed this shot and will still be referred to as champion, Shakur Stevenson is now set to fight to become bonafide WBC World Champion in his next bout.
The number one ranked contender currently is Vasily Lomachenko – the former unified champion in the division and recent opponent of Haney.
The Ukrainian called for a rematch following Haney’s victory, feeling along with many fans and pundits that he should have had his hand raised. If the rankings don’t change this month, he will at least have the option to fight for the title straightaway.
What happens with Haney’s other three belts – WBO, WBA and IBF – when he moves up to fight Prograis remains to be seen.