Writer's Note: In light of conflicting information provided to BoxingScene.com, the status of Devin Haney's current appeal with the WBC remains ongoing. On behalf of the website and to our readers, this writer regrets the error. The below story remains as originally run.
Devin Haney was able to plead his case to have his old belt land back in his hands.
A successful appeal was filed by the 21-year old to have his World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title reign restored. The news was confirmed by Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC on Tuesday, although clarification remains as to how it affects the process that was to take place prior the sport shutting down in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The absence of a boxing schedule has worked in favor of Haney, who was previously unable to honor his mandatory title defense obligations due to injury. The Las Vegas-based lightweight was due to face Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24KOs), a former two-division titlist and current WBC number one lightweight contender.
Negotiations were ordered in mid-November, though reaching a point where the bout was destined to head to a purse bid. Talks ceased, however, after Haney was forced to undergo surgery to repair his injured shoulder, which he insisted would put him on the shelf for six months.
As such, the WBC named Haney “Champion in Recess”, which would entitle him to fight for his old belt the moment he was able to resume his career. Meanwhile, Fortuna was ordered to face England’s Luke Campbell for the vacant title, with their bout to have taken place on April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The show was canceled due to CDC (Center for Disease Control) regulations.
Soon thereafter, Haney plead his case to have the belt returned to sender.
“I feel like they should reinstate me—I was stripped because they felt I wouldn’t be active to fight my mandatory,” Haney pointed out prior to filing an official petition with the WBC. “But the two (top contenders) never fought.
“So, what sense does that make? If I’m ready to fight the mandatories… let’s make this happen.”
It appears the WBC saw the matter through Haney’s eyes, thus restoring order in its lightweight rankings.
Haney claimed the interim WBC title with a one-sided 4th round stoppage of then-unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev last September in New York City. An upgrade came just six weeks later, when unified titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko abandoned his WBC reign in exchange for the sanctioning body’s “Franchise” champion label, which allows its claimants to proceed free of mandatory title defense restrictions.
Just one defense has come of Haney’s reign, a 12-round win over Alfredo Santiago last November. The intended showcase left him with the aforementioned injury.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox