'Full' title or not? What’s at stake in Donaire’s next fight

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2020 08:09 AM | Updated as of Dec 04 2020 11:06 PM

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When Nonito Donaire Jr. faces Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico on December 19 it will be for a full WBC bantamweight title.

This should be the case, even though the World Boxing Council declared reigning champion Nordine Oubaali of France "champion in recess" after he begged off from the Donaire bout due to COVID-19.

Fight analyst Nissi Icasiano said this meant there would be 2 WBC world champions in the bantamweight division on December 19.

"The WBC will crown 2 champions in 1 division. But the other one is just inactive or 'in recess,' because he has a valid reason to be sidelined," Icasiano said.

He explained that the WBC crown being dangled for the Donaire-Rodriguez match is different from the interim titles being offered by other sanctioning bodies.

"It's a concept introduced when Oleksandr Usyk (in 2019) had to be sidelined because of an injury. They coined the term 'champion in recess,'" Icasiano said.

"In the interim, the champion is not 'official' because it's just part of a contingency. In case a full champion gets stripped of his title, that's the time an interim champion gets fully promoted as a full champion."

Icasiano said a champion in recess enjoys certain privileges.

"[For one] in interim titles, there is a preset deadline for official champions to return. But for champions in recess, there's no preset deadline," he pointed out.

Icasiano said that when Oubaali returns, he will have to fight Donaire in a mandatory fight.