The WBO have ordered Anthony Joshua to defend his championship crown against mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk or else he could be stripped of the title.
Joshua and Ukrainian heavyweight rival Usyk have been given ten days to reach an agreement before purse bids are ordered.
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It comes after Joshua’s proposed bout with fellow Brit Tyson Fury – which had looked set to take place in Saudi Arabia on August 14 – collapsed earlier this week.
The WBA, IBF and WBO champion had been told he had 48 hours to save his showdown with Fury on Wednesday, with his promoter, Eddie Hearn, desperately trying to salvage the situation and working on a contingency plan.
But the pair’s undisputed title fight appears dead in the water after an arbitration court ruled that Fury must fulfil a contractual obligation by fighting Deontay Wilder for a third time later this year.
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It’s understood the Bronze Bomber has refused to accept a large fee to step aside which may have allowed Fury to take on Joshua.
‘Tyson Fury… the world now sees you for the fraud you are,’ a furious Joshua posted on social media ahead of Fury and Wilder’s proposed trilogy fight.
‘You’ve let boxing down. You lied to the fans and led them on. Used my name for clout not a fight. Bring me any championship fighter who can handle their business correctly.’
Usyk’s promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, had this week confirmed the former cruiserweight champion was in discussions to take on Joshua at Wembley in August.
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‘We never had any bad relations with Eddie. So we’ve been in touch before and we are in touch even more often today and yesterday and the day before yesterday,’ he said.
‘We are now in front of fighting AJ. I think the most probable way it should go now is AJ with Usyk.’
He added: ‘We didn’t have much time to discuss the options, so the principle location that is under discussion at the moment is Wembley.
‘With all my respect to Saudi Arabia, it might be a little too hot in August over there. But if it goes to Saudi Arabia, also happy. If it goes to Ukraine, even more happy! If it goes to any other place in the world, we are happy because we are facing the very best in heavyweights. And this is the best way to prove yourself.
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‘I think this week is the deadline for everyone. So end of this week the whole world will know that Fury vs AJ on August 14 is finished. And instead of one fight we are getting two fights. AJ is going to fight Usyk and Fury is going to fight Wilder.’
Photo Credit: Getty