Oleksandr Usyk could miss out on an undisputed clash with Tyson Fury this spring, as reported first by World Boxing News.
If the formidable Ukrainian does have to look elsewhere for his next challenge, there won’t be a lack of opponents in the queue.
As Fury eyes a Wembley blockbuster with either Usyk or Deontay Wilder, the latter option would see the unified champion forced to move on.
Luckily for the WBN Fighter of the Year for 2022, Usyk holds three world title belts. Therefore, mandatories can be put to one side to clear a path to more significant events.
If Fury delays an undisputed title clash, Usyk can choose the WBA, IBF, or WBO number one contender. WBN also looks at two other considerations for Usyk if “The Gypsy King” bails on their previously agreed battle.
Five opponents for Oleksandr Usyk
WBA mandatory – Daniel Dubois
Dubois has patiently awaited his title shot since picking up the meaningless ‘regular’ title at a Don King show last year. The WBA wants to remove the secondary belt at the earliest opportunity meaning Usyk vs Dubois is a means to an end.
WBO mandatory – Joe Joyce
Joyce is in the mix despite having a fight already lined up. If Usyk goes down that route, he’d have to wait for Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang to take place on April 15.
IBF mandatory – Filip Hrgovic
At present, Hrgovic makes the most sense as Usyk could move away from working with Fury’s promoter Frank Warren. If Fury negates their clash, Usyk may burn bridges and switch to working with Eddie Hearn and Sauerland.
Andy Ruiz Jr.
Usyk could stick it to Deontay Wilder if “The Bronze Bomber” replaces him to trade blows with Fury for a fourth time. He can give Andy Ruiz Jr. a shot at the title.
Ruiz is mandated to fight Wilder in an eliminator that has continually stalled for the past few months.
Whyte got back to winning ways controversially against Jermaine Franklin. Usyk could turn to the “Bodysnatcher” to keep UK interest high for a future bout with Fury.
The whole episode falls on the outcome of talks between Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr. Everything will become a moot point if they finally agree to fight, as Al Haymon intends.
So far, dates for the WBC final eliminator are in short supply.
Follow experienced boxing writer Phil Jay on Twitter @PhilJWBN. Follow WBN: Facebook, Insta, Twitter.