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Home » Three-fight heavyweight plan set for Oleksandr Usyk after collapse

Three-fight heavyweight plan set for Oleksandr Usyk after collapse

Oleksandr Usyk knows which three title defenses he has to make following the collapse of an undisputed heavyweight clash with Tyson Fury.

The Pound for Pound king will put his WBO, IBF, and WBA belts on the line in that order following a ruling by all three sanctioning bodies.

First up is Daniel Dubois, as confirmed by WBA President Gilberto Mendoza.

WBA heavyweight title

“The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee ordered negotiations for the world title fight between heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and WBA regular champion Daniel Dubois.

“The official communication was sent to the parties on Monday. The teams of both fighters will have 30 days to negotiate, which will start this April 4 and will end next May 2 at the end of the day (-5 GMT).

“The fight between Usyk and Dubois had been ordered since last December 12. But in the process, a period was granted for Usyk to negotiate the unification fight with Tyson Fury.

“However, that fight could not be agreed upon due to team differences. Now the WBA ordered the fight that corresponded in line with its world title reduction plan.

“Dubois suffered the knee injury in his most recent bout last December 3 against Kevin Larena. Despite winning, he came out of the fight hurt and had difficulty walking.

“The WBA sent a request for a health report to Dubois and his team, which was received on Thursday, March 30. The report, signed by London-based physician James Witthicase. He says Dubois is ready to do any physical activity, run, carry weight, and feels no pain in his knee.

“If an agreement for Usyk-Dubois is not reached by May 2 or either side refuses to negotiate, the WBA could send the fight to an auction.

“This will be accompanied by a split of 75% for Usyk and 25% for Dubois.”

WBO heavyweight title

Next up, in a letter to promoter Frank Warren, the WBO outlined what happens next for their interim heavyweight champion.

Joyce, the current holder after defeating Joseph Parker, defends against Zhilei Zhang on April 15. Whoever wins will then be afforded another defense of the title.

Upon coming through that fight, the possessor of the temporary crown will then get a shot at Oleksandr Usyk.

The written explanation, obtained by World Boxing News, reveals the WBO’s blueprint for beyond April 2023.

“Dear Mr. Warren: Please be advised that the WBO World Championship Committee now grants sanction approval for the above.

“The referenced bout between Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang. Joyce vs Zhang is scheduled for Saturday, April 15, 2023, at Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hackney Wick, London, United Kingdom.

“Furthermore, sanction approval is granted under the sole and exclusive responsibility of the event’s promoter. Provided compliance with all relevant health and safety protocols enforced by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and all other laws and rules.

“The guidelines set forth by the appropriate government authorities to ensure the participant’s safety and well-being.


“This bout is sanctioned subject to this Committee reserving its right to order any of the following rulings. That includes but is not limited to, granting sanction approval of Unification Championship Contests in the Heavyweight Division.

“Also, allowing the winner of the Joyce/Zhang Interim Championship bout voluntary defenses of the Interim Championship title against an approved opponent. That’s until the Committee determines that the Interim Heavyweight Champion faces the WBO Heavyweight Champion to terminate the Interim designation.

“Any other rulings that best serve the sport of boxing, the WBO, and its heavyweight Division.

“In closing, the WBO World Championship Committee reserves its right to issue any further determinations necessary. The WBO aims to be helpful and convenient to accomplish the purposes, policies, and intent of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.

“This includes serving those interests that best serve the sport of boxing, the WBO, and its heavyweight division.”

IBF heavyweight title

Joyce/Zhang is reported to be the third in line for a challenge against Usyk. Dubois is next, as we know. IBF number one Filip Hrgovic will follow but could fight an interim title bout first.

As WBN reported first, Anthony Joshua is set to be contacted after Andy Ruiz Jr. turned down the fight. Deontay Wilder, who is after Ruiz in the IBF rankings, also has no interest in fighting Hrgovic.

Furthermore, this means Joshua could fight for the interim IBF heavyweight crown in the summer – if the Briton accepts the IBF’s offer.

Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight title plan:

Summer 2023: Daniel Dubois [WBA]

Winter 2023: Filip Hrgovic [or opponent, IBF]

Summer 2024: Joyce/Zhang [or opponent, WBO]

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