Rey Vargas Will Meet Foster For Vacant WBC Junior Lightweight Title
In the wake of Shakur Stevenson being stripped of the WBC and WBO junior lightweight titles for missing weight for a defense against Robson Conceicao on Sept. 23, the organizations are putting into place how those 130-pound belts will be filled.
Conceicao could have claimed them but lost a one-sided decision to Stevenson, who is now headed to lightweight.
The WBC announced on Monday that its board of governors voted unanimously to approve a petition from WBC featherweight titlist Rey Vargas to move up one weight class and challenge for the title against O’Shaquie Foster, who is the mandatory challenger.
Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs), 31, of Mexico, who held the WBC junior featherweight belt from 2017 to 2019 and made five defenses, won the featherweight title from Mark Magsayo via split decision in July in San Antonio. There was talk of a unification fight with WBA titlist Leo Santa Cruz but that is no longer in the works and Vargas will instead seek a title in a third division.
Foster (19-2, 11 KOs), 29, of Houston, scored a 12th-round knockdown and won a lopsided decision over Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov in a WBC title eliminator in his most recent fight in March in Dubai.
In conjunction with approving Vargas’ petition, the WBC ordered them to commence negotiations and said that, per its rules governing vacant title fights, the winner will have to make two mandatory defenses.
The WBO said it will announce its plans for its vacant title during its annual convention, which runs from Oct. 24 to Oct. 28 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Archie Sharp (22-0, 9 KOs), 27, of England, who is ranked No. 1 by the WBO, figures to be one half of the vacant title bout and he hopes to face former titleholder Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs), 31, of Mexico, who lost the WBC belt to Stevenson by decision in an April unification fight.
“Ideally, me versus Valdez is what will happen,” Sharp said. “I’m No. 1, Valdez is No. 3 (in the WBO rankings) and so that fight makes sense. I’m blessed to have a great team and I’m sure Probellum can get what we want over the line. At the minute, I’m just sitting here and waiting. I’m just keeping myself in shape and just being prepared to get the phone call to say there’s a big fight.
“Valdez is a typical Mexican fighter. He’s game, he’s strong and he’s always in good shape. He’s a great fighter and he’s done a lot over the years, but I feel I will do exactly what Shakur did to him and outbox him. And if we put the pressure on him, who knows, we might be able to get him out of there.”