The WBO are set to order Anthony Joshua to defend his world heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk within the next 48 hours, sources have told Express Sport. Eddie Hearn, AJ and the world of boxing was rocked by Monday night’s shock development that Tyson Fury must legally oblige to a third fight with Deontay Wilder by September 15, leaving the undisputed clash set for Saudi Arabia on August 14 on the brink of collapse.
Arbitrator Daniel Weinstein ruled that the Gypsy King must pay Wilder a significant step-aside fee, should he wish to pursue the all-British mega-fight with Joshua next.
Fury and his promoter Bob Arum have already vowed that will not be happening, with the Wilder trilogy now set for July 24 in Las Vegas.
Express Sport exclusively revealed yesterday that the Bronze Bomber has requested a staggering £17million to move out of the way.
Now WBC and Ring Magazine world champion Fury is preparing to lock horns with his American rival for a third time later this summer, posting on social media: “What a joke Deontay Wilder has become, asked for $20million to move over. Joker. Looks like I have to crack his skull again.”
EXCLUSIVE: Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter in talks over Anthony Joshua fight after Tyson Fury court ruling
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed talks with Hearn were underway yesterday to discuss a potential fight with Joshua.
The Ukrainian’s attorney then wrote to the WBO yesterday threatening legal action should they fail to order the fight.
Express Sport understands the WBO are now preparing to call on Joshua versus Usyk within the next 48 hours.
Matchroom Boxing and K2 Promotions have worked together before on a number of co-promotions, making one fight within just 10 minutes, meaning negotiations for this fight would be a formality.
Usyk has been in the gym for two months in Kiev training “to become a real heavyweight” and August 21 and August 28 have already emerged as potential dates for the showdown which is expected to land in London.
The undisputed fight is now set to be revisited later in the year, permitting Joshua and Fury come through their respective fights unscathed.
Back in June 2019, the WBO confirmed that Usyk had been appointed as their official mandatory challenger after he moved up to boxing’s top division as the undisputed cruiserweight king.
Reluctantly, the governing body has since agreed that Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr and his IBF defence against Kubrat Pulev last December took precedent over their mandatory challenger.
The WBO were also frustrated that Joshua was set to pursue the undisputed fight next and threatened to strip him of the belt before eventually standing down.
If the bout between Joshua and Fury for all the marbles in the Middle East was to go ahead, the winner would lose the WBO strap by the time the rematch came around later in the year.
Yesterday, Hearn admitted that AJ’s blockbuster super-fight with the Gypsy King – that he’d personally worked so hard to deliver – was now out of his hands and beyond his control.
Plan B is now being devised and that involves the defence against Usyk to ensure we are still on course for an undisputed fight later in the year.