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WBO orders Joshua must face Usyk next

One week ago, Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury were on the brink of announcing an August 14 showdown in Saudi Arabia, now they are both heading in another direction against different opponents.

With Fury now meeting Deontay Wilder in a trilogy fight in Las Vegas on July 24, the WBO has ordered its reigning heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua must face Ukrainian No.1 contender Oleksandr Usyk next.

Both parties have 10 days to reach an agreement or purse bids will be ordered. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had requested an extension to a ‘Show Cause’ letter from the WBO questioning the status of the projected undisputed title fight between Fury and Joshua. But the WBO has maintained there can be no further delay after Usyk previously stepped aside and Fury-Joshua on the backburner for the meantime.

When Wilder won his arbitration case against Fury for a contracted third fight, the undisputed title clash between the ‘Gypsy King’ and Joshua could no longer proceed this summer. To keep the world titles together, ‘AJ’ must now defeat Usyk before ideally facing Fury at the end of the year.