Oakland’s Andre Ward relinquished his World Boxing Council super middleweight champion emeritus status on Monday, effectively forgoing any plans to regain his title after the sanctioning body stripped him last month.
The 29-year-old Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), who previously defended the WBC belt last September in a 10th-round stoppage of Chad Dawson at Oracle Arena, has been on the shelf after incurring a tear in his right shoulder on Jan. 4 that torpedoed a slated March fight with former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
Following successful surgery at the SOAR Surgicenter in Burlingame and rehabilitation at Active Care San Francisco, Ward has since been cleared to resume training in the gym. Ward’s promoter, Dan Goossen, informed CSNBayArea.com last month that he was targeting a September return for his fighter.
As a result of the inactivity, the WBC chose to take Ward’s title away and award the vacant belt to the winner of the June 22 fight between Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KOs) and Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs), whom Ward has already beaten by lopsided decision.
Subsequently, the WBC granted Ward “champion emeritus” status, a title that would have allowed him to receive an immediate title shot against the current champion at any point in the future. However, Ward has decided to give that up as well, citing his disagreement with the sanctioning body’s move to strip him of the belt in the first place.
[RELATED: Ward’s shoulder surgery a success]
“We voiced our position to the WBC, and after several discussions, have agreed to disagree with their interpretation of the facts and rules,” Ward said. “In our opinion, we feel strongly that I did not violate the rules in any manner whatsoever…As a matter of principle, I have chosen to stand up for what I believe is right.”
Despite losing the WBC belt, Ward still possesses the World Boxing Association (WBA) and Ring Magazine 168-pound titles, along with the unofficial but universally recognized lineal super middleweight world championship by virtue of having cleaned out the division following the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Here’s Ward’s statement in full:
After careful thought and consideration with my family and team, I have decided to relinquish my WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Emeritus Title. As has been recently reported, the WBC elected to strip me of my world title belt, making the upcoming bout between Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban for the vacant Super Middleweight Title. After consultation with my manager James Prince and attorney Josh Dubin, it is my belief that the WBC did not have the right to strip me of my World Title and name me Champion Emeritus. We voiced our position to the WBC, and after several discussions, have agreed to disagree with their interpretation of the facts and rules. In our opinion, we feel strongly that I did not violate the rules in any manner whatsoever.
When I fought Chad Dawson, there was no mandatory contender. Subsequent to my victory, I injured my shoulder but have remained ready, willing and able to defend my title within the period specified by the WBC's rules. Nonetheless, without what we feel was appropriate due process, the WBC elected to strip me of my World Title. I think my track record in fighting the best opponents available speaks for itself. I worked extremely hard and dedicated my entire career to win and defend my WBC belt. As a matter of principle, I have chosen to stand up for what I believe is right. I think the fans know and appreciate that I am the Super Middleweight Champion of the World, and I trust that I will continue to be recognized as such. I am back in training again, feeling great, and excited about my return to the ring.
The Super Middle Weight Champion of the World,