Fury, Joshua’s heavyweight unification fight in doubt

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. 

His promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports that they already had an agreement with Josuha’s team – before the Fury deal was done – that he would get his chance following the Pulev fight. 

‘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.’

Like Joshua, Usyk, 33, won gold at the 2012 Olympics. He has since dominated the cruiserweight division, becoming the first fighter ever to unify all four major championship titles. He has won all 17 of his professional fights with 13 ending in knockouts.

Boxing bible The Ring rank him the fifth best pound-for-pound fighter, above both Fury and Joshua. 

Dillian Whyte is also taking legal action against the WBC to try and ensure he gets his shot at their belt after Fury’s trilogy fight with Wilder.

Whyte is the mandatory challenger for Fury’s WBC championship after beating Oscar Rivas via unanimous decision in a final eliminator last July.

But with a two-fight deal agreed between Fury and Anthony Joshua for next year, and with Whyte’s mandatory fight due to take place by February 2021, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed they have received a legal challenge about the date of the mandatory fight. –Mailonline

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