Oleksandr Usyk’s reign as the WBC cruiserweight champion has come to an end.
The WBC announced that it has unanimously elected to move Usyk from full champion to “Champion In Recess,” a distinction that leaves the world title vacant but gives the now-former titleholder a future shot at the belt if they decide to go that route.
Usyk was originally supposed to make his heavyweight debut in May, going up against Carlos Takam in Maryland, but Usyk went down with a bicep injury, forcing him to withdraw from the fight. Usyk was previously the undisputed cruiserweight champion, but would go on to vacate his WBA version of the title after not electing to pursue a fight against mandatory challenger Denis Lebedev. Although Usyk has no intentions of moving back down to cruiserweight, he is still listed as the WBO and IBF champion, although his reign is expected to end soon.
As for the nature of the vacant WBC title, the organization did not make an announcement regarding that. Two of the three-highest ranked boxers by the WBC at 200 pounds, Andrew Tabiti and Yunier Dorticos, will face each other on June 16 in the World Boxing Super Series semifinals. The other semifinal matchup taking place on that day will be between WBC Diamond titleholder Mairis Briedis and interim WBO champion Krzysztof Glowacki. There is no word on if the WBC will sanction either fight for the WBC title or wait until the tournament finals to allow the vacant championship to be on the line.
This isn’t the first time in recent months the WBC has elected to go this route when it comes to a world champion. The organization did just that to Christina Hammer after she went down with a health issue that forced her fight against Claressa Shields last year to be postponed. Hammer’s WBC middleweight title was then up for grabs late last year with Shields defeating Hannah Rankin and later defeating Hammer this past April to crown an undisputed middleweight champion.