The decision by Stiverne (21-1, 20 knockoutsK) comes in advance of King’s being ordered by the WBC on Thursday to begin free negotiations for a rematch with No. 2-rated Chris Arreola’s promoter Dan Goossen for the belt that was vacated on Dec. 16 by Vitali Klitschko, a 42-year-old veteran who announced his presidential candidacy in Ukraine in October.
A 35-year-old Haitian-born fighter, Stiverne contended that King had violated The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by forcing him to sign an exclusive contract with his promotional company in April of 2011 as a preluded to facing King-promoted Ray Austin, whom Stiverne stopped in the 10th round in June of that year.
On Thursday, however, Stiverne said he had “worked it out” and that he was “back together” with King.
“It’s been maybe in the last 24 to 48 hours that we sat down like two grown men and we talked it out, so everything’s good now. We worked it out,” said Stiverne.
“We’re good right now, so, we settled, and everything is perfect. We didn’t see eye-to-eye for a couple of months, and we decided to sit down and go over certain things. We’re back together.”
In his last fight in April, which was designated as a WBC elimination bout for the right to face Klitschko, Stiverne scored a third-round knockdown on the way to a unanimous decision over Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs), whom Klitschko stopped in September of 2009. In his last fight in September, Arreola stopped Seth Mitchell in the first round.
Of Arreola, Stiverne said simply: “I’m going to knock him out this time.”
Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOsk) had not been in the ring since last September when he made the 10th defense of his belt with a fourth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Manuel Charr, and has been named “Champion Emeritus” by the organization, meaning he can retire with the option of being able to return to the ring at any time and be eligible to fight for the title against the reigning beltholder.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org