The World Boxing Council (WBC) has cancelled its order for a final eliminator between former heavyweight champions Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr. The fight was supposed to determine the next mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight title, currently held by Tyson Fury. The WBC announced its decision on Friday, citing the failure of the fight to materialize as the reason. The sanctioning body said they will re-evaluate the situation and may issue a new ruling at its annual convention in Uzbekistan in November.
Wilder and Ruiz had both won their respective semifinal eliminators last year, with Wilder knocking out Robert Helenius in October and Ruiz outpointing Luis Ortiz in September. However, the negotiations for the final eliminator never gained traction, as Ruiz reportedly demanded a 50-50 split of the purse, which Wilder rejected.
Meanwhile, Wilder has been pursuing a lucrative fight with Anthony Joshua, the unified WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight champion, who is also looking for a new opponent after his undisputed clash with Fury fell through. The two sides are reportedly in talks for a mega-fight in Saudi Arabia in January, which could put the WBC interim title on the line. Ruiz, on the other hand, also tried to secure a fight with Fury but was turned down by the unbeaten Briton, who is set to face UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a crossover bout in October.
The body said in a statement, “The WBC Board of Governors has ruled to cancel the order which was issued during the last annual convention calling for a final elimination bout between Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz jr to determine the mandatory challenger of the division. The WBC will evaluate the current situation in the division in order to review the viable options and if necessary, issue a new ruling during the WBC annual convention to be held in Uzbekistan in November.”
With the ruling, the WBC will go through 2023 without a sanctioned heavyweight fight. Reigning lineal/WBC king Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24KOs) has not defended the title since a tenth-round stoppage of countryman Derek Chisora in their all-British trilogy clash last December 3 in North London.