WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is poised to be the World Boxing Council’s next Franchise champion. Interim WBC champion Devin Haney is saying that he believes that the 31-year-old Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) will be given the WBC Franchise tag. When that happens, Haney says he’ll likely be moved up to WBC ‘regular’ lightweight champion status.
The unbeaten Haney (23-0, 15 KOs) recently defeated Zaur Abdullaev (11-1, 7 KOs) by a crushing fourth round TKO victory on September 13 to win the vacant interim WBC lightweight title.
Haney wants WBC to force Lomachenko to fight him
Unified lightweight champion Lomachenko has his sights set on fighting for the IBF title against the winner the Teofimo Lopez vs. Richard Commey. Lomachenko doesn’t have any interest in fighting Haney at this point in his career. Loma is more focused on fighting world champions, and Haney has nothing to offer him right now with his interim WBC trinket.
“We’re waiting on the WBC to make their ruling,” said Haney said last Saturday night while being interviewed by DAZN. “Either they’re going to make Lomachenko the franchise champion and make me the WBC regular champion, or they’re going to mandate the fight,” said Haney about the WBC possibly ordering Lomachenko to face him.
There’s talk of Lomachenko possibly making a voluntary defense before the end of 2019, and Haney and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing want the WBC to force Loma to defend against him. What they don’t want is Lomachenko to be able to take another voluntary defense, and then sit and wait until 2020 to fight the Commey-Lopez winner for the IBF title.
Lomachenko wants that last title complete his collection of 135-lb titles before moving down to super featherweight. When Lomachenko moves down to super featherweight, Haney won’t have any way of forcing the aging fighter to face him.
Haney isn’t going to stay at lightweight for too much longer. He says he wants to win a world title, and then move up to 140 to go after the belts in that weight class. That’ll put two divisions between Haney and Lomachenko once he does that. Since Lomachenko averse to fighting guys in the 140-lb weight class, Haney likely will never get a fight against him after he moves up.
Haney hoping WBC will mandate Lomachenko fight
“As of now, we don’t really know. We’re just waiting and towards the end of this month, we’ll see the decision they’re gonna make,” said Haney. “But if they make me world champion, I’m happy with that. If they mandate the fight, I’m happy with that. All I want to do is become world champion.”
If Lomachenko is given the Franchise tag by the WBC, he’ll join Saul Canelo Alvarez as the only two Franchise champions in the sport. The advantage of being given the Franchise tag is it allows the WBC champions from being forced to make mandatory defenses. So for Lomachenko, he wouldn’t be forced to make a risky title defense against a young lion like Haney.
Haney is fighting next month against an opponent still to be determined on November 9 on DAZN on the undercard of KSI vs. Logan Paul at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.