Deontay Wilder is eyeing a shot at the top division crown. However, unless granted a voluntary, he’s in for a long wait.
Wilder was two wins away from an undisputed heavyweight title shot until the WBO sanctioned an interim title bout.
This situation certainly puts the WBO ahead of any other sanctioning body in the queue for the winner of Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury.
Outlining their decision, the WBO revealed that Frank Warren and Ben Shalom made moves to ensure Joe Joyce a title shot in 2023.
Will Deontay Wilder get a heavyweight title shot?
Warren and Shalom aimed to “protect” Joyce as the next in line. The move undoubtedly has repercussions.
The WBO said: “On Tuesday, August 23, 2022, this Committee confirmed receipt of email communications from Queensberry Promotions.
“They were sent on behalf of current number one-rated heavyweight contender Joe Joyce.
“They requested that his scheduled bout get approval for Saturday, September 24, 2022, in Manchester, England, UK.
“It’s against the current number two contender and former WBO World Champion Joseph Parker.
“They asked to set Joyce vs Parker for the Interim WBO Heavyweight Championship.”
Joyce scored a TKO victory over the New Zealander last Saturday night. Parker couldn’t avoid defeat after getting a beatdown in the previous few rounds.
Usyk vs Fury condition
However, Warren and Queensberry gave the condition that Usyk vs Fury would be arranged. That fight, like Fury vs Joshua, remains up in the air.
“In support of their contention, Queensberry argues that discussions are ongoing for the highly anticipated undisputed heavyweight championship between unified titleholder Oleksandr Usyk and WBC Champion Tyson Fury,
“Also, the Usyk vs Fury bout would take place in early 2023 [around January or February].
“Considering the likelihood of the bout being staged, the sanction approval of Interim Championship is justified.
“It’s between the highest two available world-rated contenders in Joe Joyce and former WBO Champion Joseph Parker.
“In support therefor, the petitioner asserts that by virtue of the Interim Championship being contested, the rights and interests of the rest of the heavyweight contenders in the division would be duly protected.
“Having considered the facts stated herein and having reviewed the applicable WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests, and having the power, authority, and discretion conferred by the WBO Rules and Regulations, now, therefore, resolve as follows:
“The Committee grants sanction approval. Joyce vs Parker will be for the Interim Heavyweight Championship.
“However, the approval is subject to the conditions stated herein and all other provisions set forth by the WBO World Championship Committee.”
Fury vs Charr
Whether those conditions mean Joyce will have to wait, especially if Fury fights Mahmoud Charr, remains to be seen.
Whatever the situation is, Wilder [trained by Malik Scott] is out in the cold unless Fury or Usyk pluck him out of WBC eliminators voluntarily.
WBN had stated that if Wilder beats Robert Helenius in October at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and came out on top in the Premier Boxing Champions mini-WBC mandatory tournament, he was initially on course to get a shot at the undisputed title.
But since Fury didn’t follow through with his promise to retire, The Alabama Slammer from Tuscaloosa is again facing a blockade. Fury would have to walk away for the WBC heavyweight title to go vacant.
Wilder vs Ruiz would then be sanctioned for the vacant belt. Again, “The Gypsy King” holds that key.
The honor of challenging Usyk in a mandatory capacity now lies with Joyce. Furthermore, the WBA’s stipulation Daniel Dubois has to wait his turn too.
Depending on whether the WBO pushes Joyce to be next, the WBA and IBF would have to decide who follows as the next mandatory from the best heavyweights.
Deontay Wilder shot
Provided Wilder has the WBC title in his possession by then, the US knockout artist could overtake anyone due to the “undisputed comes first” rule.
Even if Wilder beats Helenius and then Andy Ruiz Jr [who defeated Luis Ortiz last month at Crypto Arena, formerly Staples Center], the “Bronze Bomber” faces allowing for either two Usyk or Anthony Joshua vs Fury fights and a Charr fight.
To compound his misery, the WBO mandatory fighter in Joyce would be next in line, whatever happens.
All that certainly could take well over a year or more to complete. It will see Wilder pushing 39 or 40 before he even has a chance at the title he once held.
Eddie Hearn offered Wilder the chance to face Dillian Whyte in London while he awaited his chance. That move is unlikely to be approved by Haymon.
It’s a long wait for that title shot, not just for the boxing star but also for his “Bombzquad” fans.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.