In a move that has literally surprised nobody, Terence Crawford has officially vacated his WBO junior welterweight title in order to become the mandatory challenger for the WBO welterweight title.
During the WBO's annual convention, the organization announced Crawford's intentions to move up in weight and challenge for the welterweight title, currently held by Jeff Horn.
Horn will defend his title against Gary Corcoran in December. The fight has been agreed to, but there is no official announcement as of yet. Horn won the title this summer when he scored an upset win over Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao and Horn were supposed to have a rematch in November but Pacquiao had to withdraw from the fight.
A fight between Crawford and Horn, assuming Horn successfully defends his title, would be a relatively easy process. Both men are represented by Top Rank, meaning the fight will likely be broadcasted on ESPN, who signed an exclusive broadcasting deal with Top Rank.
As the mandatory challenger to the title, Crawford is automatically next in line to challenge for the fight, regardless of the winner. Per WBO rules, a champion in one weight class can challenge for the world title in the next weight class provided he vacates the title and asks for the mandatory challenger position in the higher weight class.
Crawford was the undisputed junior welterweight champion after unifying the WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF titles when he beat Julius Indongo on an ESPN-televised card in August. The day after the fight, Crawford announced his intentions to move up in weight.