Mikey Garcia has vacated the IBF Junior Welterweight title, deciding to keep the WBC Lightweight title instead as the ruling forbids a fighter to hold titles in two divisions at the same time.
The decision was a surprising one, Garcia having lifted the title from its previous owner, Sergey Lipinets, it was thought he would continue in his new domain but after being told by the IBF that he would need to complete negotiations for his mandatory defence against Ivan Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs), he instead decided against defending the title in favour of defending the lightweight title.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told ESPN that Garcia had notified him that he would defend his lightweight title next, which is why the WBC had not yet stripped him of the belt.
“The IBF received an email from Mikey Garcia on Sunday indicating that he was relinquishing the IBF junior welterweight title,” IBF president Daryl Peoples told ESPN on Tuesday. “We were a little surprised as well.”
Baranchyk will get the opportunity to fight for the vacant junior welterweight belt.
“We’ll go through the ratings to try to identify the leading available contenders and direct them to begin negotiations,” Peoples said.