DeGale still waiting for title shot as WBC hands Chavez Jr the number one spot
James DeGale's hopes of landing a shot at world super middleweight champion Sakio Bika in his next fight have been dealt a blow as the WBC have placed Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr as their number one challenger.
The Briton was widely tipped to be installed as the WBC's mandatory challenger after stopping Dutch-based Armenian Gevorg Khatchikian in 11rounds at Bristol's City Academy last weekend.
DeGale has now made three defences of the WBC's 'Silver' title. Purse bids were set for a final eliminator contest between DeGale and America-based Swede Badou Jack, but Jack was stopped in just over a minute in New York last week by Dereck Edwards. This appeared to have cleared the path for the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist to challenge Bika.
But WBC officials today chose to ignore the recommendation of the British Boxing Board of Control that DeGale be installed as number one, handing Chavez Jr that privilege instead.
Eyebrows were raised given Chavez Jr hasn’t done anything at super middleweight to warrant the number one spot.
Head of the WBC Mauricio Sulaiman – in Britain to attend the European Memorial Mass of his father Jose – attempted to explain the governing body’s reasoning during an interview with Boxing News.
“It’s easy to see a trend that says Mexicans get preferential treatment from us but I can assure you that each case can be justified,” Sulaiman responded when asked why Mexicans – and Chavez Jr in particular – appear to achieve higher rankings than they deserve.
“Chavez was champion at middleweight,” he continued. “I don’t think anyone can doubt he is a world-class fighter, he is a former champion and he was rated at middleweight. He was ranked number two, he was ordered to face Marco Antonio Rubio but he informed the WBC he would campaign at super-midddleweight instead."