With a 10-day deadline to agree on a fight, Anthony Joshua has been ‘ordered’ to face Oleksandr Usyk.
For the time being, Anthony Joshua’s projected unification match with Tyson Fury appears to be dead in the water.
The WBO has told Anthony Joshua that he must fight Oleksandr Usyk next, putting any hope of a blockbuster unification battle with Tyson Fury in jeopardy. Boxing fans in the United Kingdom were anticipating that Fury and Joshua would eventually fight in the ring in 2021.
Contracts were signed for a two-fight contract, with Eddie Hearn and Fury’s staff ironing out the finer points of the fights’ locations.
Fury just revealed on social media that the first fight will take place on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
However, it was revealed just a day later that Deontay Wilder was pressing through with preparations to pursue a third bout with Fury.
Fury has a contractual responsibility to fight the ‘Bronze Bomber’ for a third time, according to an arbitration ruling in Wilder’s favor.
There has been talk that Wilder could be paid millions of pounds to step aside so Joshua and Fury can continue to fight.
According to talkSPORT, the WBO ruled that Joshua must fight Usyk next, making that much more unlikely.
Both parties are said to have 10 days to agree on a date and location, or purse bids will be issued.
When news came that Wilder was pressing through with his trilogy with Fury, Joshua responded angrily on social media.
“Tyson Fury… ”
Joshua stated, “The world now recognizes you for the fraud you are.”
“You’ve betrayed boxing. You cheated the fans by lying to them and leading them on. I used my name for clout rather than a brawl.
“Bring me any championship boxer who knows how to run a business.”
However, with Usyk ready to compete for the WBO title, any battle between Fury and Joshua appears like it will have to wait until the end of the year at the earliest.
And Joshua is believed to be “prepared” to face against the 34-year-old.
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports, “WBO has to issue the official enforcement for the required today.”
“AJ, in my opinion, is ready to take on the challenge.
“It might take place anywhere, including Wembley Stadium, but no firm venue commitments have been made yet.”