Sulaiman: “Top Rank Requested Lomachenko Be Franchise Champion!”

WBC President Says Vasiliy Lomachenko Is Lying!

Mauricio Sulaiman and Vasiliy Lomachenko
Mauricio Sulaiman (left) and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman Debunks Vasiliy Lomachenko’s Franchise Title Denial!


Ever since the WBC unveiled their newly created “franchise champion,” there has been a great deal of uproar. In the opinion of most boxing fans, there are already far too many belts flying around the industry as is. To add this designation to the mix will only serve to further water down a previously over saturated situation.

Yet here we are nonetheless.

THE WBC’S CONFUSING CONVERSATION

At the moment, there are only two franchise champions: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO’s) and Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KO’s). Alvarez was the first to receive the designation. In Canelo’s case, it appears that the WBC sanctioning body came to him with the idea of making him the “franchise champion.” Obviously, Alvarez accepted.

In Lomachenko’s case, however, his team approached the WBC and requested the designation. After receiving the requrest, the WBC granted Lomachenko the franchise designation. This of course, according to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

At the time of this transaction, Hi-Tech was the WBC world lightweight champion, while Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KO’s) was the interim lightweight champion. With this arrangement, Haney was perfectly lined up to fight Lomachenko as a possible mandatory. As a direct result of the designation, Haney was elevated to the full WBC lightweight champion and Lomachenko is now absolved from having fulfill a future mandatory obligation.

In the eyes of a great many fans, this came off looking like a blatant duck! It has been well documented that the Dream has sought, is seeking and will continue to call for a fight with the unified champion. On the outside looking in, it appears that the harsh backlash of the fans has ruffled Hi-Tech’s feathers.

LOMA’S LITTLE LIE?

In the wake of this negative criticism, Lomachenko issued a statement saying that he never requested to be recognized as a “franchise champion”. The declaration was puzzling to say the least. Top Rank bigwig Carl Moretti has a documented interview on the ThaBoxingVoice stating the promotional company most certainly did petition for the designation.

Then none other than Sulaiman himself, stepped forward to further invalidate Lomachenko’s unsavory deceit. In an interview conducted with FightHype, Sulaiman listed the chain of events that led to Hi-Tech becoming the now infamous ‘franchise champion.’

“There is no lie or truth, it’s a fact! His [Lomachenko] promotional company Top Rank contacted the WBC and requested the WBC board to consider designating him champion. The designation of the ‘franchise champion’. And we did do the voting, we did do the presentation in Cancun, and Lomachenko signed it.”

WHAT NOW?

When Hi-Tech was granted his new designation, it didn’t look the best. Now that he foolishly tried to lie about the very publicly documented situation, it looks even worse. Going forward, it will be interesting to see who Lomachenko opts to fight in his next two fights or so.

The whole of Team Lomachenko are harping on who has Haney faced and does he deserve a shot. This is an interesting argument coming from this camp seeing as how the unified champion was granted a title fight in his second professional prizefight. A title fight that he lost to Orlando Salido. Not only did he lose, he was immediately granted another title fight in his very next bout against “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr.

Canelo also lost his first major step up fight against Floyd “Money” Mayweather (50-0, 27 KO’s). Yet, even after suffering these losses, both Alvarez and Lomachenko went to have stellar careers. All said to say, so what if Haney is too young? Maybe he will be defeated if he fought Loma but he can just as well end up having a great career afterwards.

However, we should keep in mind that Haney was not ‘given’ anything. He fought his way to be in position to face Hi-Tech. The Dream is undeniably talented, he is a big name in the sport, he is a belt carrying champion and Lomachenko vs Haney is already a huge fight.

So what if he is too green? He wants to fight just like Lomachenko and Alvarez wanted to…and DID! So why pump the brakes on The Dream’s dream?

By: Bakari Simpson

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Bakari is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com. Visit cheetahhead.com to view more of his literary work.