Frank Warren says talks for a Usyk v Joyce WBO eliminator are brewing
Let Frank Warren tell it, the all UK heavyweight super-fight that so many want is one step closer to being made. Both heavyweight world champions, Tyson “Gypsy King” Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s) (WBC) and Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-1, 22 KO’s) (WBO/WBA/IBF) have stated they want to collide next. Trouble is, Joshua’s WBO title, and the mandatory challenger obligation attached it, remain a glaring and unresolved obstacle. Not only was AJ required to face his mandatory, Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KO’s), Usyk was not willing to step aside.
Now, there appears to be hope on the horizon. Warren, who co-promotes Fury, has indicated that the WBO is willing to allow the Fury v Joshua fight to proceed. Initially, like Usyk, the WBO was intent on enforcing the mandatory. However, that situation seems to have altered significantly. In acknowledging the historic aspect of Joshua v Fury bout, the WBO apparently did not want to deny the undisputed portion. So, it appears that if the fight is made, then AJ will be able to represent all of his belts without issue.
CHANGE OF OPINION
Naturally, the question becomes, ‘if Joshua can face the Gypsy King next, what happens to Oleksandr Usyk?’ According to Warren, speaking with IFL TV, talks have already begun plotting for a Usyk v Joe “Juggernaut” Joyce (12-0, 11 KO’s) clash.
“We’re working on, at the moment, Usyk and Joe Joyce. I think the WBO will order that as an ‘interim’ title fight, so we’re working hard to make that happen…”
“The situation is that the WBO have said they’d like to do that fight as an eliminator. We have no objection to that and I don’t think Usyk has. There’s been some preliminary talks and we’ll see where we go from there. I hope [it will happen]. It’s a good fight. And I think whoever wins it – based on his last performance, Joe’s looking really good. If he comes through it, it puts the winner in a tremendous position. The eventual winner of the two fights between Tyson and AJ will have to defend against Joyce or Usyk, or vacate the belt.”
The possible outcome that Warren, who also promotes the Juggernaut, has presented is intriguing to say the least. There is no denying that there is a bitter sweet element for Usyk. The bitter part is obvious. Due to a bigger fight trumping his position, his shot at the title is being unduly delayed. If he is victorious over Joyce however, then he gets an immediate shot at the undisputed champion rather than unified. Coming off his impressive win over Daniel “Dynamite” DuBois (15-1, 14 KO’s), the Juggernaut would be a favorable scalp to collect as well. So while this may not be a title shot, it is not a horrendous potential consolation prize either.
Not only was Joyce able to place the first blemish on DuBois’ record, he forced him to quit in the process. Before their actual fight, the two fighters had woofed at one another for quite some time via social media. Sometimes they did so in person. Regrettably, like so many other bouts, their inevitable dust-up was delayed by COVID-19. Once finally in the ring though, Dynamite had no answer or defense for the Juggernaut’s steady power jab. He pumped the destructive punch into DuBois’ eye with regularity and precision the entire fight. As a result, the eye swelled to the point that Dynamite felt compelled to conceded the bout. It was later revealed that the broken boxer suffered a broken orbital socket. Over all, it was an outstanding showing for Joyce.
As more and more forces push for Fury v Joshua to happen, it will be interesting to see how it all resolves. Who can deny the drama of the all UK dust-up to determine the undisputed heavyweight champ? At the same time, who can really get seriously upset with Usyk versus Joyce in the meantime? Yet, in the murky backroom areas where boxing business is conducted, anything can and will happen. So, let us see what happens next!
By: Bakari Simpson