Anthony Joshua’s main goal in the sport of boxing is to become a three-time world heavyweight champion – and the undisputed bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk may present paths to do so.
Fury will put his WBC title against Usyk’s WBA, WBO and IBF to crown a four-belt champion. The fight is signed, and a date is expected to be announced after the former’s fight with Francis Ngannou this month.
It will follow Usyk’s successful stoppage defence against Daniel Dubois – formerly the WBA’s Regular Champion – in August.
In the aftermath, Mahmoud Charr came out the other side of a legal battle with the WBA as the new Regular Champion – a decision that bamboozled many boxing fans given the man has fought three times in the last six years and nowhere near the top level.
Alongside that ruling from the sanctioning body was an order to defend the belt against number six rated Jarrell Miller – a man previously signed to face ‘AJ’ before a failed test for various banned substances in 2019.
The WBA has now confirmed that the Charr-Miller fight won’t be going ahead, and has instead told the Regular Champion that he must organise a defence against a ranked contender within 60 days.
At number one is Deontay Wilder, who only seems interested in money-spinning bouts. Two is Martin Bakole, who fights this month on the undercard of Fury-Ngannou against Carlos Takam.
Three is Joshua, who is said to have re-entered training camp with Derrick James in Texas and has a target date of December or January.
As talks with Wilder hit a standstill, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, told Boxing Social that whilst that transatlantic clash is still high up the list, becoming a three-time world champion could take precedence.
Should Joshua fight and beat Charr – who has been angling for a big fight for years now – as Regular Champion he would be guaranteed a shot at the Super Champion sometime down the line – Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk’s four-belt clash with Fury is reported to have a two-way rematch clause, and if the loser activates that then the belts are likely to be scattered at some point. Should the WBA decide to strip the undisputed champion, Joshua could be elevated or given the opportunity to fight for the full title.
The Brit is also high up the IBF’s list, and could look to organise a fight with mandatory challenger, Filip Hrgovic. That sanctioning body has confirmed that the winner of Fury-Usyk must face Hrgovic next. A rematch between the two champions will see the belt vacant and Hrgovic competing for it, should he still have his number one slot.
There are plenty of ifs and buts in the heavyweight division, but it looks like Joshua’s path to a third stint as champion may be a simpler one than first thought.