The WBC is looking to resolve its lightweight mandatory situation.
The sanctioning body ordered a fight between interim titlist Ryan Garcia and Javier Fortuna with both Garcia’s belt and the mandatory challenger position on the line. In addition to the fight being ordered, the WBC stated that a purse bid will take place on April 16 if a deal could not be reached. Devin Haney is the current WBC lightweight champion, but does not have a fight officially set in stone, but has been linked to a fight against former champion Jorge Linares.
“After careful consideration and countless communications with all parties involved the WBC was confirmed the course of action for the lightweight division. Ryan Garcia won the WBC interim title and mandatory position. Javier Fortuna had a signed contract to face [Jorge] Linares which COVID prevented from happening and earned a mandatory position. The WBC is hereby ordering Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna for the WBC interim lightweight championship and mandatory position in the division,” the WBC announced.
Garcia, one of boxing’s most popular young fighters, is coming off a thrilling seventh-round knockout victory over Luke Campbell back in January. Garcia scored a vicious body punch to knock out Campbell after Garcia was dropped in the second round at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Fortuna, on the other hand, hasn’t fought since stopping Antonio Lozada on a PBC card back in November 2020. Prior to that, Fortuna stopped former featherweight titlist Jesus Cuellar in the second round of their November 2019 bout. Since 2019, Fortuna has fought three times and emerged victorious in all three bouts. The 31-year-old Fortuna previously held a WBA super featherweight title from 2015 to 2016.
A potential fight between Garcia and Fortuna is just the most recent development in a months-long situation regarding the WBC lightweight title. Haney won an interim belt in 2019, but was then elevated to full champion after Vasiliy Lomachenko, the previous WBC champion, was named “WBC Franchise Champion.”
A fight between Haney and Fortuna was ordered before Haney suffered an injury and was named “Champion In Recess.” That’s when plans for a potential fight between Fortuna and Campbell for the then-vacant title were in the works. The pandemic ensured the fight never happened and Haney was reinstated as champion after being recovering from his injury. A fight between Fortuna and Linares was also set for last year, but it got canned after Linares tested positive for COVID-19.
Haney last fought on a Matchroom Boxing card in Florida in November 2020 when he defeated Yuriorkis Gamboa by unanimous decision. That was Haney’s second title defense with the last one being a unanimous decision win over Alfredo Santiago in 2019.