Update: WBC clears Haney to fight Prograis, Shakur to fight for 135 lb belt

08/01/2023 - By Will Arons - Comments

The WBC has approved Devin Haney’s request to move up to 140 to challenge champion Regis Prograis for his belt. However, Haney will be stripped of his WBC lightweight title and downgraded to ‘Champion in Recess.

If Haney desires, he can return to the lightweight division and use his ‘Champion in Recess’ tag to challenge whoever holds the belt.

Devin had previously petitioned the WBC to allow him to keep his lightweight title while he moved up in weight to 140, perhaps wanting to hold onto it just in case Gervonta Davis wished to fight him.

With Haney losing his WBC lightweight belt, he’ll still hold three belts for the short term, which might be enough to help him get the fight he wants against Gervonta.

If not, it’s possible that we could see Haney slowly vacate his other titles one by one if he doesn’t give them all up.

Haney’s mandatory challengers:

  • Shakur Stevenson – WBC
  • Isaac Cruz – WBA
  • George Kambosos Jr – WBO

It’s believed that Haney’s reason for fighting WBC light welterweight champion Prograis is to have a bargaining chip to use in negotiations for a fight with WBO champ Teofimo Lopez, making Devin a lot of money.

The chances of Haney choosing to return for the WBC 135-lb title are slim & none, as he’d likely have to face Shakur Stevenson, and he hasn’t shown a keenness to do that.

If Haney does return to the 135-lb division for his WBC belt, he would fight the title holder for the belt with a 50-50 split,  which is a huge difference from the 25% Devin had offered Shakur recently.

That will be another reason why Haney won’t return for his 135-lb belt, but not the main reason. He obviously doesn’t lose to Shakur, so he’ll stay away.

As for Shakur, he’ll battle vacant 135 against the highest ranking willing & available contender. That could be #1 WBC Vasily Lomachenko. If he turns down the fight with Shakur, the WBC will pick a highest ranking fighter from this list:

3. Isaac Cruz
4. William Zepeda
5. Frank Martin
6. Edwin De Los Santos
7. Jamaine Ortiz
8. Artem Harutyunyan
9. Shuichiro Yoshino
10. Raymond Muratalla

It’s anyone’s guess which of those contenders would agree to fight Stevenson for the vacant WBC lightweight title. It is safe to say that Isaac Cruz & William Zepada won’t agree to fight him.

WBC’s decision:

1. Haney permitted to fight Prograis at 140 for his belt
2. Devin given champion in recess tag at 135
3. Shakur Stevenson to fight for vacant WBC 135-lb belt