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Devin Haney steps back to become wbc junior welterweight champion in recess

By: Sean Crose

“WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Devin Haney requested to be placed in the status of Champion in Recess,” the World Boxing Council announced on Monday via a press statement.  “The WBC Board of Governors unanimously granted Champion Haney’s request and has declared him WBC World Champion in Recess.” And so, Haney, fresh off a highly controversial defeat to Ryan Garcia, has stepped away from the WBC’s junior welterweight belt.

“Concurrently therewith,” the WBC continued, “the WBC Board of Governors declared current Interim World Champion Alberto Puello as WBC World Super Lightweight Champion…pursuant to its Rules and Regulations, the WBC will order the free negotiations period for Champion Puello’s mandatory title defense against WBC #1-rated challenger and mandatory contender Sandor Martin.”

Haney’s reign as WBC junior welterweight king was a relatively short one. After winning the undisputed lightweight championship of the world by besting the great Vasyl Lomachenko in a extremely close fight, Haney moved up to junior welterweight and battled Regis Prograis for Prograis’ WBC belt. It was a highly anticipated bout, but when all was said and done, it was Haney who absolute dominated – in his home town of San Francisco, no less. Then, however, came last April’s fight against Garcia.

Although he finished the fight on his feet, Haney took a terrible beating from Garcia, being dropped three rimes in three different rounds en route to a decision loss. It was all very strange, as Garcia came into the fight over the scheduled weight while claiming he drank in the leadup to the match. Still, there was no denying Garcia dominated his man fair and square. Until, that is, it was discovered Garcia tested positive for the banned substance ostarine in tests taken before and after the bout with Haney.

As a consequence of the positive drug test results, Garcia was stripped of his victory over Haney by the New York State Athletic Commission. Still, although he’s at least somewhat vindicated, there’s no doubt Haney was damaged by Garcia’s performance during their fight (how it all would have turned out had Garcia not had a banned drug in his system is simply a question without an answer).

Another question is what will become of Haney from here? He’s undoubtedly talented, but – fairly or not – he was thoroughly thrashed by Garcia. Such things can have a physical and emotional impact. Then again, fighters are a rare breed. Haney, should he come back strong, certainly wouldn’t be the first boxer to make an impressive return.

Images: WBC

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