The 12th Round: 2018

By Mauricio Sulaiman
WBC President – Jose Sulaiman’s son

The bell has rung and we are starting a new journey through this 12 round fight of 2018. Last year represented the rebirth of our great sport as the fans from around the world witnessed some spectacular matches and I am certain that boxing will carry-on and promoters and television networks will work and join forces to give fans the fights they deserve.

The WBC will cooperate and will work towards trying to make the best fights possible throughout the year. We are nearing the spectacular celebration of the WBC’s 2000 world championship fight. We enter this year with 1989 sanctioned fights in our 55 year history some of them being the best fights with legendary champions including Muhammad Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran, Chavez, Mayweather, Pacquiao, and so many other great champions who have fought for the green and gold WBC belt.

The WBC convention in Baku, Azerbaijan, reviewed each division and the mandatory status was determined. We pride ourselves for transparency and open books. Consequently the WBC reports every quarter the mandated status of each division.

Following is the status as we begin 2018 with great expectations.

Heavyweight – Champion Deontay Wilder ( USA ) made his mandatory defense in November so he is in a voluntary stage and is free to defend his title and has also expressed his absolute desire to fight Anthony Joshua which is the fight the world wants to see and the WBC will fully support such tremendous bout.

Cruiserweight – Champion Maris Breidis ( Latvia ), Will fight Usyk in a unification about under the World Boxing Super Series. The WBC fully supports this great concept of tournament and the mandatory will be addressed at the end of the process in May.

Light heavyweight – Champion Adonis Stevenson ( Haiti – Canada) will fight former WBC champion Badou Jack in a highly anticipated match. Mandatory challenger Alvarez will fight Gvozdyk for the WBC interim title due to the fact that the mandatory defense has been delayed for several reasons. Both winners must fight immediately after their matches.

Super middleweight – Champion David Benavidez ( Mexico ) Will fight a rematch with Ronald Gavril in February. WBC Diamond champion Callum Smith ( UK ) was crowned during the WBSS and will continue to participate in the tournament. The mandatory situation will be addressed at the end of such tournament.

Middleweight – Champion Gennady Golovkin ( Kazakhstan ) has been mandated to fight a rematch with Saul Alvarez negotiations are taking place. In order to allow these rematch the WBC ordered mandatory contender Jermall Charlo to fight Hugo Centeno for a WBC middleweight interim championship.

Super welterweight – Champion Jermell Charlo ( USA ) made 2 mandatory defenses. A final elimination bout between Vaness Martyrosian and Maciej Sulecki has been ordered.

Welterweight – Champion Keith Thurman (USA) will return in a voluntary title defense as he has recovered from his injury. Shawn Porter is mandatory contender and Danny Garcia will fight Brandon Rios in a final elimination about for the second mandatory due to the inactivity of Thurman.

Super lightweight – Champion Terence Crawford ( USA ) will most likely move up in weight. The WBC ordered Amir Imam vs Juan Carlos Ramirez And also ordered Regis Prograis vs Viktor Postol. Both winners to fight each other.

Lightweight – champion Mikey Garcia (Mexico-USA) received special permission to fight over the weight in February in a WBC special event. WBC diamond champion Jorge Linares (Venezuela ) will defend his championship in January. Both champions will fight each other immediately after their bouts.

Super featherweight – Champion Miguel Berchelt (Mexico) Will fight former champion Cristian Mijarez in February and then will make his mandatory defense. The WBC is in the process of voting with a request to officially a point Miguel Roman as mandatory contender after he knocked out Orlando Salido.

Featherweight – Champion Gary Russell ( USA ) will defend his title in February and then make his mandatory defense against JoJo Diaz

Super bantamweight – champion Rey Vargas ( Mexico ) will make a voluntary defense and then proceed to the mandatory defense

Bantamweight – champion Luis Neri ( Mexico ) will fight the mandated rematch against former champion Shinzuke Yamanaka in March.

Super flyweight – Champion see the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai ( Thailand ) will make the mandatory title defense against Juan Estrada in a highly anticipated match in the great promotion named Superfly 2.

Flyweight – Champion Daigo Higa (Japan ) will defend his title against Moises Fuentes. A final elimination bout will be ordered to determine the mandatory contender of the division.

Light flyweight – Champion Ken Shiro ( Japan ) defended his title last December 31st now will fight mandatory contender in a mandated rematch against former champion Ganigan Lopez

Minimumweight – champion Menayothin ( Thailand )will make the mandatory defense against Leroy Estrada from Panama searching to Tie Floyd Mayweather record of 50 -0.

Next week I will be disclosing the status of the WBC Women’s championship commitments for 2018.

The WBC has several priorities for this year has been working in the proper structure of several committees in order to continue growing in the right direction. The WBC’s Top priorities are :

– Reinforce the Clean Boxing Program and complement the works with the newly created Nutrition committee to find education materials and procedures to properly reach the boxing community.

– The Mismatch Prevention system to find reciprocity among national boxing federations world wide and to continue identifying those dangerous matches to be stopped before they take place . Illegal entities exist and license fighters who are contracted to tremendous mismatches. Promoters and matchmakers must participate in this process as well.

– Social responsability programs to continue changing lives around the world through WBC Cares and Pope Francis Scholas Foundation program BoxVal, Beyond Sports and Heroes de Mexico.

*Emilio Marsili from Italy will fight Betancourt from Mexico for the Peace champion award. A benefit promotion to aid the victims of the earthquakes which struck Italy in 2016 and Mexico in 2017.

– Launching of the worldwide licensing and merchandising program with direct benefit to former and current fighters.

– Continue the Brotherhood campaign to dignify our sport with several activations .

*Fighters will exchange flags of their countries before each championship match.

Boxing is the greatest sport on earth, it is the friendly hand extended to those who have very few options in life and when they find the gym their lives change and they then change the lives of many . I wish you all a prosperous year hoping that health and happiness is around you and your loved ones.

I welcome any comments, ideas or suggestions at

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