Boxing stands on the verge of crowning an undisputed heavyweight champion for the first time since Lennox Lewis in 2021. The problem is, it could only be for one day.
As Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua continue to discuss a battle for all the belts, Oleksandr Usyk is awaiting his mandated shot.
The Ukrainian ex-cruiserweight king wants his opportunity now. Fury and Joshua hope he will wait until a two-fight saga ends.
According to Usyk’s representative Alexander Krassiyuk, a solution – including the winner vacating the next day, is under review.
Worse of all is the fact Usyk hasn’t agreed to anything suggested so far.
“There were talks about an interim title or the AJ vs. Fury winner relinquishing the WBO title the next day (after the heavyweight fight),” Krassyuk told Sky Sports.
“But as for today, Usyk is the WBO mandatory and never gave his consent for the bout to happen without him,” he added.
Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum has aired his views on the Usyk problem. The Top Rank boss has vowed to do all he can to keep the Fury vs. AJ clash undisputed.
“He is mandatory for the WBO, so we will ask the WBO to allow this fight to happen with Fury and Joshua. That would hold off Usyk.
“If we were not able to accomplish that, well maybe before we try to achieve that, we would reach some solution with Usyk where he fights somebody else, perhaps on the same card. We’ll find a solution.
“I’m optimistic we will find a solution. Now, if we don’t, the unfortunate thing would be that we do it without the WBO title.
“Be that as it may, but I think it would be nice for boxing to do this for the undisputed title.”
WBN released an article on Friday outlining that the fight faces a worldwide drop in sales without all the titles.
American audiences especially are only likely to fork out the Pay Per View fee if they witness a historical event such as the unification of a whole division.
With the heavyweight weight class being the most lucrative, those numbers could be huge.
Furthermore, Usyk – for his part, could merely be holding out for what could be a massive payday to step aside.