Sebastian Fundora could once again challenge for the interim WBC title, though not in a bid to avenge his lone career defeat.
A ruling was made during the 61st annual WBC convention that would allow Fundora to re-enter the interim title mix. It would come versus Serhii Bohachuk in lieu of a previously contracted rematch versus Brian Mendoza against whom he suffered a stunning seventh-round knockout defeat this past April to abruptly end his secondary title reign.
“The WBC had the flexibility to make it possible for the undisputed championship,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman stated prior to issuing the divisional ruling. “The WBC had the [Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano] fight… and ordered the rematch for the undisputed. At that time, the WBC ordered an interim to keep activity for the boxers to have opportunities.
“Sebastian Fundora won and defended the title. He lost in a dramatic way to Brian Mendoza and they had a signed contract for a rematch. That rematch did not happen because Mendoza went to Australia [to face WBO titlist Tim Tezyu]. The WBC accepted Serhii Bohachuk to fight Sebastian Fundora for the interim title.”
Jermell Charlo (35-2-1, 19KOs) remains the lineal, WBC, WBA and IBF champ. He was relieved of his WBO title once he entered the ring for his failed bid to unseat undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (60-2-2, 39KOs) on September 30 in Las Vegas. Tszyu (24-0, 17KOs) was upgraded from interim to full WBO titlist and defended in a twelve-round, unanimous decision over Mendoza on October 15 in Broadbeach, Australia.
The IBF has since called for Charlo to face its long overdue mandatory challenger Bakhram Murtazaliev. A purse bid hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Charlo will not have to worry about pressure from the WBC, who has made it possible for the two-time champ to move about his career free of restriction.
Fundora (20-1-1, 13KOs) has not fought since his upset loss to Mendoza on April 8, a fight in which he won every round until he was dropped hard in round seven and eventually stopped. The loss ended his interim reign which began exactly 52 weeks prior in a ninth-round stoppage of Erickson Lubin in one of the best fights of 2022.
Ukraine’s Bohachuk (23-1, 23KOs) has won five in a row since a March 2021 upset eighth-round stoppage defeat to Brandon Adams. The Tom Loeffler-promoted contender has yet to go the distance through 24 pro bouts; the loss to Adams marked the only time he was extended beyond the sixth round in his boxing lifetime.
A date was not set for the approved and ordered interim title fight. However, the winner could be met with a mandatory challenger of their own.
Charles Conwell (18-0, 13KOs) was identified as the leading WBC contender not currently in line to challenge for any title. The 2016 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland was approved to enter a final eliminator versus the next highest ranked challenger, though the WBC was noncommittal on his next step beyond that as a potential mandatory challenger.
“The WBC had Charles Conwell winning an elimination bout (versus Juan Carlos Abreu via majority decision last November 26,” noted Sulaiman. “I would like to propose the WBC approves Conwell to fight the highest available contender in a final elimination bout, to challenge for either the interim champion or the world champion of the time.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox