Daniel Dubois has found himself in the most favourable positing on the heavyweight scene as he looks set to get his mandatory challenge to unified champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
The Ukrainian has been tied up in negotiations with Tyson Fury for an undisputed bout since last December, but talks failed recently amidst demand-making and finger-pointing.
The catalyst for collapse was Fury setting a purse split of 70/30 in his favour, telling Usyk the fight was off if he didn’t accept it. Usyk did, but it was clear things had taken a turn.
Alex Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter, told iD Boxing that initial conversations about facing Dubois began days before Fury’s first ultimatum – which came on March 10.
“I won’t jump in the emails to read out our conversations, but we started to discuss the Dubois fight with George [Warren] several days before Tyson went out on Instagram.
And no one knew. It was his own decision, he didn’t inform Queensberry about that. So he just jumps in, laughing. [Usyk] calls his bluff, now [Fury] has to keep his word, but if you don’t want to keep your word you will try to find the way out. What’s how we take this situation.”
The tentative Dubois talks were likely just good business practice on the part of Krassyuk, but it’s clear that, at that stage of the negotiations, there was a feeling that the Fury fight might fall through.
That it did, and both men are now forced to move on without the chance at being a four-belt champion, for now at least.
Usyk’s talks with Dubois are expected to ramp up now, although his promoter, Frank Warren, has floated the idea of a step-aside deal for the 25-year-old. Krassyuk said they wanted confirmation the challenger was injury free, which has reportedly been already provided to the WBA.
Fury is without an opponent and it doesn’t look like the WBC are going to enforce a mandatory anytime soon.
It means the champion is free to call out whomever he wants, with fans hoping that it will be Anthony Joshua should the latter come through Jermaine Franklin on April 1