Anthony Joshua seems to be standing on the verge of vacating one of his heavyweight titles, killing the chances of an undisputed unification in the process.
Admitting considering dropping a title several times since regaining his straps, AJ has given the strongest indication yet the move is on the cards.
With the IBF and WBO pressuring Joshua to make mandatory defenses, it looks as though Joshua would be willing to drop the WBO belt.
Oleksandr Usyk wants his opportunity having been promised a title shot by promoter Eddie Hear when signing a deal with Matchroom.
Not on board with pitting Joshua against Usyk just yet, Hearn and Usyk’s adviser Egis Klimas could be working out a plan to at some point fully unify together.
Right now, it’s too early in Usyk’s career. Joshua could be ready to give the Ukrainian a shot at the vacant championship.
That would mean Usyk facing either Joseph Parker or Dereck Chisora in the coming months.
Joshua would not be able to face the winner of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury II for every trinket in 2020 but has vowed to regain his belt at some stage in the future.
“I always said the belts do not represent me,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “I will stand as a champion, even if I have to give one up.
“It would give me an opportunity to face another world champion. I’ve beaten four world champions on my record now.
“If I give up a belt it creates more history and entertainment. If I have to, I’ll give it away – but I’ll get it back again.”
Therefore, Joshua could still pursue the winner of Wilder vs Fury II in order to add the green and gold WBC belt to his haul for the first time.
That would give Usyk plenty of time to acclimatize to the 200 pounds plus division after claiming the undisputed crown at cruiserweight.
Should Usyk pick up the vacant WBO and run with it for the rest of the year, a huge battle with Joshua for all the marbles could happen in the summer of 2021.
All Joshua has to do is secure a fight with whoever comes out on top of Wilder vs Fury. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of keeping his own titles in the process.
In what becomes a safety net, Joshua losing to Wilder or Fury means Matchroom keep hold of a title anyway with Usyk.
2020 is already shaping up as an interesting year in the glamour division.
AJ vs Kubrat Pulev.
AJ vs Wilder or Fury.
AJ vs Usyk undisputed.