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WBC strips Forrest of title, gives it to Sergio Martinez

May 21, 2009 | 10:07 am

Vernon Forrest celebrates winning the WBC title in 2002. Vernon Forrest's slow recovery from a rib injury and desire to take a warm-up fight rather than fight top super-welterweight contender Sergio Martinez caused the World Boxing Council to strip Forrest of his belt and give it to Martinez.

Argentina's Martinez (44-1-2, 24 KOs) kept his WBC interim belt in a majority draw against Kermit Cintron, a bout many observers believed Martinez won.

The WBC has told Forrest that he can fight Martinez next if he wants. The 38-year-old Forrest (41-3, 29 KOs) has beaten Pomona's Shane Mosley twice, and avenged a June loss to Sergio Mora with a unanimous decision victory in September.

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Vernon Forrest celebrates after winning the WBC title in 2002. Credit: Henny Ray Abrams / Agence France-Presse