The WBO Has Announced Anthony Joshua Must Face Oleksandr Usyk Next
Following Deontay Wilder’s victory in his arbitration case the dominos continue to fall. Shortly after arbitrator Daniel Weinstein ruled in Wilder’s favor, the WBO snapped into action. They gave a formal directive to Team Joshua to prove the potential super-fight with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury could still happen. Unified heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-1, 22 KO’s) and his handlers were given 48 hours to respond.
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At that point, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn sought a ten day extension to see if he could conjure up a miracle. The WBO was not having it! The sanctioning body denied the request for more time, stating that more than enough extensions had already been granted. Their stance was that the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KO’s) had the right to challenge for the title and the WBO meant to enforce that right.
As a result, Teams Joshua and Usyk were given ten days to come to terms for a fight. If the two teams were unable to reach an agreement within that timespan, then the bout was to be sent to a mandatory purse bud.
GIVE UP THE BELT OR FIGHT!
Of course, Joshua could still opt not to face Usyk next. However, he could only do this if he vacated the WBO title. AJ has always maintained that he wanted to become the next undisputed heavyweight champion. Therefore, it is very unlikely he will vacate. In fact, it would be silly at this point for him to vacate. His would-be next foe, Fury, has already come to a verbal agreement with Team Wilder for their trilogy.
Wilder was unwilling to accept step-aside money and Top Rank, Fury’s co-promotional company, was unwilling to pay such funds. Therefore even if Joshua did vacate the title, he would still not be able to face Fury next. So at this point, we are just waiting to see if Team Usyk and Joshua can come to terms within their ten day deadline. Yet, it seems to be written in stone that they will be fighting each other next.
By: Bakari Simpson
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