The fanfare greeting an undisputed two-fight deal between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua was short-lived as one of the organizations involved put a dampener on the celebrations.
World Boxing Organization President Paco Valcarcel released an immediate ruling that Joshua has to face Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title next.
Valcarcel didn’t even ratify a scheduled IBF mandatory that Joshua has already signed a contract for with Kubrat Pulev. The WBO chief said Joshua vs Usyk was the move to make.
He said: “Love to see WBO unified champion, Anthony Joshua, fighting WBO former and current WBC champion Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But WBO mandatory should be next.”
This means Joshua would have to at least put a deal in place with Usyk if the WBO is okay with the Pulev bout being first.
If this doesn’t happen, Joshua certainly won’t be facing Fury with all his title belts on the line. That’s if they stick to their target of the summer of 2021.
The only alternative would be to push the initial Fury vs Joshua back in order to accommodate Usyk.
At present, promoter Eddie Hearn is eyeing next summer. Should the Matchroom boss be unwavering with these plans, Joshua would certainly lose the WBO strap.
On the other hand, Fury has been given the green light by the WBC to pursue Joshua without being stipulated to tackle his mandatory in Dillian Whyte.
World Boxing Council chiefs made it clear on Thursday that Fury is free to plow on with the Joshua fight, leaving Whyte to wait his turn.
“WBC franchise is not a belt. It is a designation. If Fury stays undefeated until then, he would be putting his WBC World Champion Belt on the line (vs Joshua),” said the WBC.
In order to remain with his four straps intact, AJ has to defeat Pulev and Usyk before even contemplating Fury for the undisputed.
Noises coming from the WBO don’t make it likely that an exception will be granted in this case.
Dec 2020 to Feb 2021 – Deontay Wilder
Dillian Whyte (on hold)
Nov 2020 – Kubrat Pulev
April to May 2021 – Oleksandr Usyk
Fall 2021 – Tyson Fury
Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay