Promoter Claims Oleksandr Usyk Must Face Anthony Joshua before Tyson Fury
Boxing’s heavyweight division is in an interesting position. There are mandatory challengers left and right, and limited time to book fights. The coronavirus pandemic may have further complicated plans. Now, Oleksandr Usyk may be looking to take advantage.
Usyk (17-0) won the cruiserweight finals of the World Boxing Super Series in 2018. He then became the mandatory challenger for the WBO Heavyweight Title after his move to the division. The 33-year-old beat Chazz Witherspoon in his heavyweight debut. Usyk was supposed to face Dereck Chisora but the fight was postponed due to the coronavirus. Without a date for the fight to resume, Usyk’s team might be moving on.
Currently, WBO Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua must face IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev. Scheduled for June, the fight was postponed due to the coronavirus. Now rumored for November at a location to be determined, Joshua is hoping to beat him and move on to bigger things.
Before the “bigger things” can happen, however, Usyk may very well be next. Speaking to Sky Sports, promoter Alexander Krassyuk discussed the pecking order of the heavyweight division and where Usyk stands.
“Usyk’s WBO mandatory had to happen before AJ vs Pulev,” Krassyuk stated. “But we were flexible and did not put much pressure on, allowing AJ to complete his IBF mandatory while Usyk fights Chisora. But this was made with regards that the WBO champ (whoever he is after AJ vs Pulev) has to make his mandatory versus Usyk.
“It means that either Joshua fights Usyk first or fights Fury without the WBO belt.”
Joshua and Tyson Fury agreed in principle to fight twice, starting in 2021. This is if Joshua beats Pulev and if Fury beats Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout. Interim WBC Heavyweight Champion Dillian Whyte is also a factor in all of this.
This news comes after the WBO announced that they are looking to book Usyk in a fight against the winner of Joshua-Fury right away. Only time will tell what direction the heavyweight division will be going in.