Another potential spanner in the works has emerged for Tyson Fury’s blockbuster world heavyweight championship unification fights with Anthony Joshua, with Oleksandr Usyk determined to secure his mandatory WBO title shot first.
While financial terms for two Fury vs Joshua fights have been agreed, the former must defend his WBC belt against Deontay Wilder first and the latter will face IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in their postponed duel.
Usyk, the undefeated cruiserweight who has stepped up a division and is rated among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, is next in line for a shot at Joshua’s WBO belt, and his insistence that his title shot takes priority next could mean that belt has to be relinquished if Joshua insists on fighting Fury first.
“Usyk’s WBO mandatory had to happen before AJ vs Pulev,” said Krassyuk. “But we were flexible and did not put much pressure on, allowing AJ to complete his IBF mandatory while Usyk fights Chisora.
“But this was made with regards that the WBO champ (whoever he is after AJ vs Pulev) has to make his mandatory versus Usyk.
“It means that either Joshua fights Usyk first or fights Fury without the WBO belt.”