WBC President for Life, Jose Sulaiman announced that the UK’s Ryan Rhodes (45-4, 31 KOs) will be new jr. middleweight champion Saul Alvarez’s mandatory title challenger.
Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KOs), who won the vacant WBC 154 lb. in a controversial title bout with Matthew Hatton on March 5th, will be making the first defense of his title, likely in Mexico and within 90 days of Sulaiman’s edict.
Making the statement from his Mexico City home office, Sulaiman explained that Rhodes got the nod because he was the “highest available contender.”
Lost in the mix is Alfredo Angulo, who is listed as the WBC’s number one contender at 154. Angulo, who is a Mexican national, has immigration problems preventing him from fighting within the US, but those issues should not be a factor since Alvarez’s next defense is booked to be in Mexico.
Sulaiman addressed the Angulo issue by stating that he doesn’t “think Angulo is available.”
Newly-named mandatory challenger, Rhodes, is a former European jr. middleweight champ with no experience outside of the UK or at the world class level.