The 48th WBC Convention in Cancun (Mexico) saw a very emotional meeting on Wednesday when mandatory title defenses and final elimination bouts were on the agenda.
The controversy started when Tom Loeffler (K2 Promotions) brought in a request on behalf of heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. Klitschko asked for a voluntary title defense in March 2011 (against Tomasz Adamek at New York’s Madison Square Garden celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ali vs. Frazier I) before facing his next mandatory challenger which will be determined in a final elimination bout between Odlanier Solis and Ray Austin on December 17th in Miami.
Don King (DKP) and Ahmet Öner (Arena), co-promoters of the final elimination bout in Miami, responded to this request explaining that it was crucial for the success of the December 17th show that the winner fights Klitschko immediately without any intermediate bouts.
In addition King reminded the WBC Board of Governors that his fighter Samuel Peter did not get the chance to take a voluntary defense when Klitschko returned from his injury lay-off in 2008 and asked them to make the right decision on order to save the dignity of the WBC.
When members of the Board of Governors expressed their sympathy with King’s very distinguished speech and excellent arguments, WBC President Jose Sulaiman addressed the Convention explaining that he would favor K2’s request in order to have two world heavyweight championship fights (the voluntary bout in March plus the mandatory defense in June) in only three months.
The discussion between King and Sulaiman became so emotional that the President declared to resign and leave boxing immediately because he was disappointed that "not even close friends understand“"him and his motives. He closed the session declaring that somebody else would open the afternoon session 90 minutes later.
However, after the break President Sulaiman returned and apologized for his emotional reaction. At the same time, Don King, Ahmet Öner and Tom Loeffler worked out a deal under the guidance of WBC General Secretary Mauricio Sulaiman to resolve the difficult situation.
The parties agreed that the winner of Solis vs. Austin will face Vitali Klitschko for the mandatory title defense within 100 days after December 17th. Both sides have only 11 days to come to a gentlemen’s agreement after the final elimination bout as the purse bid for Vitali Klitschko vs. the winner of Solis vs. Austin was scheduled for December 28th, 2010.
However, in case there should be no winner in the elimination bout (draw) or the winner should be seriously injured in the fight, Vitali Klitschko will have the right to defend his title voluntarily in March before facing his mandatory challenger. The deal was signed on Wednesday afternoon and will officially be announced when the Convention meetings continue on Thursday morning.
"We are very happy with the solution", states Solis’ head promoter Ahmet Öner. "We wanted to clarify that Solis will be Vitali’s next opponent because word is that he might retire after his next fight. We wanted to make it very clear that Solis is none of the Povetkins or Hayes who duck the Klitschkos and wait for them to retire.
Solis has been waiting for a long time to get his hands on Vitali and he wants to be the man to take the championship belt from him and actually retire him from boxing. Vitali tried everything he could to avoid the fight because he knows that Solis is one of very few fighters in the world who can actually beat him. So now Solis will focus on knocking out Ray Austin and then go on to become champion of the world."