Heavyweight rulers Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will not meet for all four major belts unless Oleksandr Usyk has received his WBO title shot first, the Ukrainian’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk has warned.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn and WBC champ Fury confirmed last week that initial financial terms for a two-fight series had been agreed. Yet Krassyuk has insisted that WBO No.1 Usyk will enforce his mandatory, having previously stepped aside to allow unified champion Joshua to fulfil his obligation against IBF No.1 Kubrat Pulev.
“Usyk’s WBO mandatory had to happen before AJ vs Pulev,” Krassyuk told Sky Sports. “But we were flexible and did not put much pressure on, allowing AJ to complete his IBF mandatory while Usyk fights [Dereck] Chisora. But this was made with regards that the WBO champ has to make his mandatory defence versus Usyk.
“It means that either Joshua fights Usyk first or fights Fury without the WBO belt.”
The longstanding issue with having an undisputed world heavyweight champion is that all four belts have mandatory contenders (sometimes undeserving) who have to be accommodated. In an era where a heavyweight champion usually fights twice a year that is verging on the impossible. The Covid-19 pandemic’s intrusion will also restrict WBA Super, WBO and IBF champion Joshua to just one contest (Pulev) in 2020.
This opens up the possibility of Usyk facing No.2 contender Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO crown unless another step-aside deal can be agreed. Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) is currently waiting for a new date for his clash against Finchley warrior Dereck Chisora.