The WBC has made a major announcement regarding its vacant lightweight world title.
After it was announced that Mikey Garcia was vacating the belt and being moved to Emeritus champion, it was expected that mandatory challenger Luke Campbell would get a shot at the title, but his opponent was unclear. That all changed when the WBC announced that it has ordered Campbell to face unified WBA and WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Campbell had been the mandatory challenger since September 2018 when he defeated Yvan Mendy in a title eliminator. Although Campbell was the No. 1 contender for the WBC title that Garcia had, Campbell was never going to get a shot at the title until summer 2019 at the earliest.
Garcia, who had held the title since January 2017, moved up to welterweight to challenge IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. in a Fox pay-per-view event in March. Garcia would go on to lose the fight and weeks later, announced that he was going to vacate the title as he is not planning on fighting at lightweight in his next fight.
Lomachenko, who had been looking to unify the entire division, became the unified champion last December when he defeated Jose Pedraza to win his WBO title. Originally, Lomachenko was supposed to face IBF champion Richard Commey on April 12, but Commey suffered an injury during his title win in February, leaving him unable to fight Lomachenko. Instead, Lomachenko faced Anthony Crolla, the mandatory challenger to his WBA title, and won the bout when he knocked out Crolla in the fourth round.
For weeks, speculation as to who would be facing Campbell for the title was running rampant with no clear indication of whether or not the challenger would be announced before or after the new WBC rankings come out. Well the WBC eliminated all doubts and announced every contender that was rumored to fight Campbell will have a tournament to become the new mandatory challenger.
The four-man tournament will feature the fighters ranked No. 2 to No. 5 in the WBC lightweight rankings as of this writing. The matchups ordered are as follows: Zaur Abdullaev (No. 2) vs. Devin Haney (No. 3) and Teofimo Lopez (No. 4) vs. Javier Fortuna (No. 5). The winners of those two fights would then face off in a final eliminator.