WBO Planning For Big Fight Following Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury Clash
Over the past few weeks, boxing has been planning ahead to give the heavyweight division some buzz. Recently, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury agreed in principle to compete in two fights starting in 2021. Depending on the outcome for the bout, a new challenger could already have been created.
WBO President Francisco Valcarcel stated that the winner of the bout between WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Champion in Joshua (23-1) and WBC and lineal Heavyweight Champion in Fury (30-0-1) could face Oleksandr Usyk. The former cruiserweight champion is currently ranked number one by the WBO in the heavyweight division, a division he joined in late 2019.
“I would love to see WBO champion Anthony Joshua unify titles with former WBO champion and current WBC (World Boxing Council) champ Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship, but the next challenger should be the mandatory challenger for the WBO,” Valcarcel stated, via ESPN.
Usyk (17-0) won the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight finals in July 2018, beating Murat Gassiev in the finals. He beat Tony Bellow in November 2018 to retain the titles before moving to heavyweight. Meant to face Tyrone Spong, Usyk took on Chazz Witherspoon following Spong testing positive for a banned substance. Usyk ended up winning the bout in October via corner retirement.
The idea of Usyk fighting for a title depends on various factors. Fury is scheduled to face Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout for the WBC Heavyweight Title. Fury beat Wilder in a one-sided affair in February, following their epic 2018 clash. As of now, the two will face one another by November or December, depending on Wilder’s recovery time from biceps surgery and a venue for the fight.
On Joshua’s end, the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight Champion is set to face Kubrat Pulev. The bout between the mandatory IBF challenger and Joshua was supposed to take place in June but was postponed. There are rumors it could take place in November. Joshua is currently healing from a knee injury and is expected to be out for four weeks.
Another factor to consider is Dillian Whyte, the interim WBC Heavyweight Champion. If Wilder is unable to fight, Whyte may take his spot. Top Rank’s Bob Arum also discussed the idea of promoting Whyte to undisputed champion and Fury to “franchise” status.