The latest chapter of David Benavidez's career saw the WBC make a ruling regarding his status as the super middleweight champion.
On a day that saw the WBC make multiple rulings on its many world champions, the governing body has elected to name Benavidez "Champion in recess" after Benavidez tested positive for cocaine. The ruling means that the WBC 168-pound title is now vacant.
As such, the WBC has ordered mandatory challenger Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yilidirim to fight for the vacant belt. Dirrell was originally ordered to fight Benavidez for the title, but the fight was never officially announced.
But the ruling did come after an unexpected twist. Originally, the WBC was going to order Dirrell and former IBO champion Chris Eubank Jr. to fight for the title, but after Eubank "rejected" the WBC, president Mauricio Sulaiman chose to have Yildirim ranked above Eubank. The shift in the rankings is somewhat strange from an in-ring perspective as Eubank knocked out Yildirim one year ago in the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight quarterfinals.
Benavidez won the WBC title, previously held by Badou Jack before vacating it, last year when he defeated Ronald Gavril by split decision. Benavidez retained the title this past February when he scored a unanimous decision win over Gavril in a rematch. It was announced in mid-September that Benavidez tested positive for enzoylecgonine, the central compound found in cocaine, and not a performance-enhancing drug in a drug test administered by VADA.