WBC suspends former titlist Luis Nery after failure to make weight

The WBC indefinitely suspended former bantamweight world titleholder Luis Nery on Friday.

The sanctioning organization announced the suspension one day after Nery knocked out former world titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka, knocking him down four times in a second-round knockout victory on Thursday at the Ryogoku Sumo Arena in Tokyo.

Nery had been stripped of the 118-pound world title belt the previous day for arriving at the weigh-in at 123 pounds on his first attempt to make weight. Ultimately he got down to only 121, still 3 pounds over the division weight limit. The fight went ahead anyway with Nery ineligible to claim the vacant belt if he won. The WBC decided to punish Nery for his unprofessionalism.

"The WBC has implemented several procedures which have worked for many years with absolute success, including changing the official weigh-in to one day before the fight, implementing the monitoring weigh-in 30 and seven days before the fight, etc.," the WBC said in a statement. "For a bantamweight champion to arrive at the official weigh-in five pounds over is simply unacceptable. The WBC is formally suspending Luis Nery indefinitely. Luis Nery will be mandated to appear at a hearing to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances."

The WBC's suspension does not mean Nery can't box. He will, however, be dropped from the WBC's rankings and is not eligible to box for any of its world or regional titles.

It is the second consecutive fight that Nery (26-0, 20 KOs), 23, of Mexico, has had issues with. In addition to being dramatically overweight for Thursday's fight, after he knocked out Yamanaka in the fourth round to win the title in Kyoto, Japan, in August, he failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association-administered drug test as part of the WBC's Clean Boxing Program. He tested positive for the banned substance zilpaterol in a sample provided on July 27 in Tijuana, Mexico, his hometown, but the result was not known until after the fight.

Nery claimed he had ingested contaminated meat, and after investigating the matter, the WBC issued a ruling in which it said it believed that the positive test result was indeed a result of food contamination. While the WBC did not strip Nery of the title, it did order him to give Yamanaka an immediate rematch.

After the rematch, Yamanaka (27-2-2, 19 KOs), a 35-year-old southpaw, announced his retirement from boxing. Yamanaka, who boxed professionally for 12 years, will go down as one of Japan's finest world champions in recent years. Before losing to Nery the first time, Yamanaka made 12 title defenses, one shy of tying the Japanese record for world title defenses set by Hall of Fame former junior flyweight champion Yoko Gushiken in 1980.