The WBC ordered a final eliminator between two former heavyweight champions Wednesday.
Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC, stated during the sanctioning organization’s convention in Acapulco, Mexico that Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz must meet next to determine the mandatory challenger for its heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury. Premier Boxing Champions founder Al Haymon has been building toward matching Wilder against Ruiz, both of whom won in FOX Pay-Per-View main events recently, yet the WBC’s order doesn’t necessarily ensure that Ruiz and Wilder will fight next.
The 37-year-old Wilder, a former WBC champion, is the WBC’s number one ranked contender in the heavyweight division. The 33-year-old Ruiz, who once owned the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts, is the WBC’s second-ranked heavyweight.
Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, knocked Finland’s Robert Helenius (31-4, 20 KOs) unconscious late in the first round October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Six weeks earlier, Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs), of Imperial, California, dropped Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz three times on his way to defeating Ortiz (33-3, 28 KOs, 2 NC) unanimously by scores of 114-111, 114-111 and 113-112 on September 4 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
England’s Fury decisively defeated Wilder in their second and third fights, which the gigantic champion won by seventh-round technical knockout and 11th-round knockout, respectively. Based on those two convincing victories, a fourth bout between Fury and Wilder might not make financial sense based on their presumable purse demands. Ruiz has never fought Fury, however, which seemingly would make their match more marketable if Fury continues to win and Ruiz were to defeat Wilder.
The 34-year-old Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) is scheduled to make a voluntary defense of his WBC belt against 14th-ranked rival Dereck Chisora on December 3 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Most oddsmakers have established Fury as a 25-1 favorite to beat Chisora (33-12, 23 KOs) for a third time.
Manchester’s Fury defeated Chisora by unanimous decision in their first fight, a 12-rounder that took place in July 2011 at Wembley Arena in London. Fury stopped Chisora after 10 one-sided rounds in a November 2014 rematch at ExCel Arena in London.
Fury was free to fight any ranked opponent, though, because he fulfilled his mandatory obligation by defeating Dillian Whyte in his previous fight. London’s Whyte (28-3, 19 KOs) was the WBC interim champion before Fury stopped him in the sixth round April 23 at a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.