The Board of Governors of the WBC has voted to elect James Toney and Oleg Maskaev as the two official challengers to contend against the former interim WBC World Heavyweight Champion Hasim Rahman, who was appointed as the WBC undisputed world champion after the retirement from boxing of the former champion Vitali Klitschko, due to injuries. The heavyweight division had its last mandatory title bout on June 21, 2003, almost 2 ½ years ago, by Lennox Lewis against Vitali Klitschko. Klitschko went on to win the vacant WBC heavyweight title against Corrie Sanders on April 24, 2004.
“Vitali made one voluntary defense against Danny Williams on December 11, 2004, and since then, no other world championship has taken place, except the interim championship bout due to Klitschko’s injuries, when Hasim Rahman became interim champion winning a decision over Monte Barrett in Chicago on August 13, 2005. To ratify Rahman’s undisputed championship and his mandatory defense, the WBC selected two mandatory challengers.
“The first challenger to confirm Rahman as the undisputed champion in the ring, after being appointed as the undisputed champion, shall be James Toney, who obtained 21 of the 34 total votes of the WBC Board of Governors . Toney, from the USA, has a record of 76 fights, with 70 wins, (43 by K.O.) 4 losses and 2 draws. He has been the IBF champion in the middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight divisions and had his last bout with a win on October 1, 2005.
“The second challenger elected is Maskaev, who obtained four votes in favor by the WBC Board, and who will fight next against the winner of world champion Rahman and challenger Toney with no intervening voluntary defense. Maskaev, from Uzbekistan, has a record of 37 fights, with 32 victories (25 by K.O.) with 5 losses.
“The total voting by the Board of Governors of the WBC was 21 votes in favor of James Toney, USA; 5 votes in favor of Wladimir Klitschko, Ukraine, and 4 votes in favor of Oleg Maskaev, with three Governors who did not send their votes. Wladimir Klitschko was taken out of consideration after the report that he will fight for the championship of a different organization.
“During the 44 years of the WBC’s existence, we have had some of the best heavyweight champions of the world, like the greatest, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier, among other great champions. It is the obligation of the WBC to take solid steps to keep boxing as good as it can be according to the times. It is also our general belief that in addition to ordering attractive title matches, this will be our way for all boxers to be best financially favored.
“The free negotiations period for the WBC World Heavyweight Championship between the WBC world champion Rahman and his official challenger Toney will begin today, and if no agreement is reached by December 15, the purse offer ceremony will be celebrated on December 20 in Cancun, Mexico.
Condolences to John Hornewer…
“On behalf of all the members of the WBC, I would like to extend our sympathy to John Hornewer for the passing away of his father. John is highly esteemed and respected in the WBC as an attorney who always represents his boxers with sound basics, and exemplary, respectful behavior for the institution.”