The extra time afforded to work out terms for a vacant title weight merely prolonged the inevitable.
Javier Fortuna and Luke Campbell are due to collide for the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title, with their ordered fight now heading to a purse bid hearing. WBC officials have confirmed to BoxingScene.com that the purse bid will take place January 21 at its headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico.
The session will be open to all promoters registered with the sanctioning body, with the primary requirement for the winning bidder to submit a 10% non-refundable deposit along with a proposed date and location to stage the bout. The split will be 50/50 as Fortuna and Campbell are the two highest rated contenders.
The bout was formally ordered last month, with an original deadline of January 3 in place to come to terms. Both sides requested an extension due to the holiday season, which the WBC was willing to oblige in hopes the extra time will lead to a deal in place.
Sampson Boxing’s Sampson Lewkowicz—whom represents Dominican Republic’s Fortuna (35-2-1, 24KOs)—and Eddie Hearn—whose Matchroom Boxing company promotes England’s Campbell (20-3, 16KOs)—sought to reach an agreement but with talks stalling and forced to go the purse bid route.
The belt became available after previous claimant Devin Haney (24-0, 15KOs) relinquished in exchange for designation as “Champion in Recess” as he recovers from recent shoulder surgery. The 21-year old enjoyed just a seven-week stay as a WBC titlist, first claiming the interim belt in a four-round wipeout of Zaur Abdullaev.
Haney was then upgraded to full titlist after unified titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko was granted the WBC “Franchise” champion tag in late October. The lone successful defense for the unbeaten Las Vegas-based boxer came in a 12-round decision over Alfred Santiago in November, an intended showcase which instead left Haney with an injured shoulder requiring surgery and putting him on the shelf until at least May.
The injury forced him to bow out of talks for an ordered title defense versus Fortuna, a former two-division titlist who now trains out of the greater Boston area.
Fortuna made his way to the top of the WBC lightweight rankings following a two-round wipeout of former featherweight titlist Jesus Cuellar last November. The 30-year old southpaw is unbeaten in his last three starts since a failed bid at becoming a three-division titlist, a split decision defeat to then-unbeaten titlist Robert Easter Jr. in a Jan. 2018 bout where he missed weight and was unable to claim the belt even with a win.
The lone other career loss in Fortuna’s career ended his junior lightweight title reign, suffering an upset 11th round knockout at the hands of Jason Sosa in June 2016.
Campbell—a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist—has maintained a lofty WBC ranking despite coming off a convincing loss to Lomachenko in their three-belt lightweight fight this past August in London. The loss marked his second unsuccessful bid at capturing a lightweight title, coming up just short in a spirited Sept. 2017 12-round battle with then World Boxing Association (WBA) champ Jorge Linares.
Three wins came in between title fights, including a decisive 12-round nod over Yvan Mendy last September to avenge his first career defeat from Dec. 2015.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox