by Ronnie Nathanielsz
The World Boxing Council has deprived minimumweight Silver champion Denver Cuello of a promised mandatory title shot against newly crowned champion Xiong Zhao Zhong of China who is likely to defend his title in a fight card in the US early next year possibly against Mexican Juan Hernandez who is ranked No. 4.
Cuello won the vacant Silver title with a 1st round TKO over Carlos Perez of Mexico on October 15, 2011 and sealed the deal with a smashing 2nd round TKO over another Mexican Ganigan Lopez which was billed as a title eliminator.
At the request of WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman, Cuello's manager Aljoe Jaro agreed to have his fighter step aside to enable Xiong to fight for the vacant title against Mexico's Javier Martinez Resendiz last November 24.
Sulaiman, last October 2 in a telephone interview with the Manila Standard promised Cuello he will fight the winner of the bout between Zhong (19-4-1, 11 KO’s) and Martinez Resendiz (13-3-2, 6 KO’s) in Kunming, China which was postponed to November 24 from its original October 27 date because, according to Sulaiman he "received information that Zhao injured his left hand.”
He committed “after that Denver Cuello will fight for the title.”
Sulaiman told us earlier that the promoters had “reached an agreement with Mr. Aljoe Jaro (promoter/manager/trainer of top rated Denver Cuello) who originally refused but at my personal request accepted a step aside fee with the condition that Cuello who is the Silver world champion and also the official challenger” would face the winner in a title fight.
However, Aljoe Jaro appealed to us after he received word that the WBC, at the request of the champion's handlers had agreed to grant Xiong a voluntary defense in violation of the commitment that Cuello would be given a mandatory crack at the new champion.
Jaro told us "its terrible what the WBC has done. I feel sorry for the Cuello who is tired of waiting for a long time (2 years) for a title shot which he was promised by Sulaiman."
The Manila Standard was able to contact Don Jose in his home in Mexico and he sought to defend the actions of the WBC.
Sulaiman claimed the issue of a voluntary defense was raised at the last WBC convention in Cancun, Mexico and "there was no objection.
Nobody said anything and there were many representatives from the Philippines" even as he learned that Aljoe Jaro had left for Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight.
Jaro flatly denied the claim stating that he had even spoken to Sulaiman's son and WBC executive secretary Mauricio Sulaiman and informed him they were "not willing to step aside again."
Sulaiman said the decision to allow Zhong a voluntary title defense was "approved by the board of governors and they can take any decision. I cannot represent Jaro. He is a good friend but I can't work for him. He cannot pressure me."
He said they had received a letter from promoter Gary Shaw about a possible title fight featuring Zhong in Las Vegas with Cuello on the same card.
Internationally respected referee Bruce McTavish confirmed that the Chinese promoter would meet with Shaw in Bangkok on January 8 to finalize the opponent for Zhong.