Light heavyweight mandatory title challenger Eleider "Storm" Alvarez has agreed to a deal with world champion Adonis Stevenson to step aside and allow Stevenson to make an optional defense, which is being planned against Seanie Monaghan on April 29.
The WBC, whose title Stevenson holds, announced Wednesday that it received notification from promoter Yvon Michel, who represents Stevenson and Alvarez, that Alvarez agreed to step aside and allow Stevenson to make an optional defense even though the WBC already had ordered the mandatory fight.
How much money Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) has to pay fellow Montreal rival Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) for his trouble was not disclosed.
Alvarez has been the mandatory challenger since winning a majority decision against Isaac Chilemba in a title elimination fight in November 2015. But Alvarez, 32, has remained active rather than wait for the overdue title shot.
He has won three bouts since earning the mandatory position, including an impressive fifth-round knockout of Montreal star and former super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute on Feb. 24 in Quebec City.
Stevenson, a 39-year-old southpaw, is now free to finalize a deal with Monaghan, 35, who recently had had his contract with Top Rank expire and then signed with promoter Lou DiBella.
Assuming the deal is completed, the Stevenson-Monaghan fight would take place as the main event of the first boxing card since the mid-1980s at the newly renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on New York's Long Island, where Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) is from and enjoys a big fan base. The television outlet has not been determined.
Monaghan got the fight after a deal for Stevenson to fight Bernard Hopkins conqueror Joe Smith Jr., also a big draw from Long Island, fell apart a couple of weeks ago.
"The WBC has received official communication from mandatory contender Elder Alvarez advising that he entered into a step-aside agreement allowing WBC champion Adonis Stevenson to make a voluntary defense," WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said.
In the letter to Sulaiman, Michel confirmed the agreement between Alvarez and Stevenson, adding, "It is understood both fighters, Stevenson and his opponent, are going to confirm, in writing, their commitment to defend the WBC light heavyweight title against Alvarez, in the very next fight, if they are the winner of this voluntarily title defense."
Michel did not mention Monaghan by name because the deal is not yet finalized.
"We're working on closing all the details and expecting an announcement soon on the whole show," DiBella told ESPN.
Stevenson has defended the 175-pound world title seven times but, for a variety of reasons, has not made a mandatory defense, which is supposed to take place annually, since knocking out Tony Bellew in the sixth round in November 2013.
With the Stevenson-Alvarez mandatory situation worked out, the WBC also announced that it has ordered a final elimination bout between Smith (23-1, 19 KOs) and Ukraine's Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger after the Stevenson-Monaghan winner faces Alvarez. Gvozdyk first has an HBO-televised fight scheduled against Yunieski Gonzalez on April 8 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.