The July 9 fight between Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) and Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) will be for the WBC interim world lightweight championship.
As of now, Devin Haney is the WBC lightweight champ, and Vasiliy Lomachenko is rated No. 1. Ryan Garcia, who sent out word that he is on hiatus, to deal with mental/emotional issues, is rated No. 2. Javier Fortuna is 3, Jorge Linares is 4th and Richard Commey rounds out the top 5.
The sanctioning body sent out a release explaining the context of the move:
In December of 2019, Javier Fortuna (below) reached the #1 position in the WBC Lightweight World Ratings.
The then WBC World Lightweight Champion Devin Haney became unable to defend his title due to a shoulder injury, which prompted the WBC to name him WBC Champion In-Recess, thus rendering vacant the WBC World Lightweight Championship.
The WBC then ordered a bout between #1 Javier Fortuna and the then #2 Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC World Lightweight Championship. That bout was contracted and scheduled to take place in April of 2020.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic the Fortuna v. Campbell bout did not take place, which gave Champion In-Recess Devin Haney sufficient time to recover from his injury.
Champion In-Recess Devin Haney petitioned to the WBC to be reinstated as World Champion in light of his recovery. The WBC granted that petition as well as a voluntary defense of his title.
The WBC also agreed to sanction the Fortuna vs Campbell bout for the WBC Interim Lightweight World Championship, due to the fact they had entered into a contract to fight for The WBC Championship.
Subsequently, Campbell’s promoter Matchroom requested that the WBC sanction Champion Haney’s voluntary defense to be against #2 Luke Campbell. That bout never took place.
Javier Fortuna was then scheduled to face former multi-time world champion and #3-rated Jorge Linares. That bout was supposed to take place in August of 2020. Linares contracted Covid-19 a few weeks before his bout against Fortuna, which resulted in that bout being cancelled.
In November of 2020, Fortuna stopped Antonio Lozada in six rounds. Fortuna was then scheduled to fight the then WBC Interim World Champion Ryan Garcia. That bout would have taken place in July of 2021, but was cancelled due to Champion Garcia’s ongoing medical issues.
In light of the fact that Javier Fortuna has not been able to compete for a WBC Championship due to reasons outside his control, and based on the merits of his request, the WBC has decided to grant it. Accordingly, the WBC will sanction the Javier Fortuna v. Jo Jo Diaz bout for the WBC Interim World Lightweight Championship. The winner will fight the winner of Haney vs Linares.