Anthony Joshua Concedes He’s Likely Dropping WBO Title
Fresh off of his 2020 debut stoppage win over Kubrat Pulev earlier this month, Unified World Heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua seems resigned to the fact that he will have to give up the WBO portion of his championships soon.
Joshua continued to hint this weekend that if he wants to fight WBC titleholder Tyson Fury, that it most likely means that he will relinquish the World Boxing Organization belt and not fight their mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk next,
Joshua, 24-1, 22 KOs, spoke to the London Sun this weekend and repeated that talks have been ongoing for the 2021 two fight deal between he and the flamboyant Fury. That deal has an automatic rematch clause and will be the most lucrative World title fight involving two fighters from the U.K. ever.
Anthony Joshua reveals plot to topple Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk and dominate heavyweight division https://t.co/ZNd5gbgYyT
— The Sun – Boxing (@SunBoxing) December 26, 2020
Joshua then told the Sun regarding the WBO and Usyk situation,
“Will people care if I have to lose a belt to Usyk? Will I have to give one up? I am not too sure yet. I don’t want to, because it is ‘the road to undisputed’.
But I know that, when I win, I will go back and fight for that belt anyway — that will be my goal,”
Usyk, 18-0, 13 KOs, was last in action in late October, when he scored an adequate 12-round decision win over English journeyman Heavyweight Dereck Chisora. It was Usyk’s second victory as a Heavyweight after formerly having been the Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion. The WBO has had him ranked number one in their rankings for the entire 2020 calendar year and has continued to wait for Joshua’s fight with Pulev for Usyk to be next inline.
The WBO has stopped short, so far, of ordering Joshua to fight Usyk or else strip him. It is believed that Joshua and his promotion, Matchroom Boxing, could offer Usyk significant money to step aside for the two flights with Fury. However it’s unlikely that Usyk will do that, because he has numerous other fighters that he could battle at some point next year for the vacant WBO belt.
That includes English unbeaten Heavyweight, Joe Joyce, who is currently ranked number two behind him by the WBO. Joyce scored the best victory of his professional career back in November with a 9th round stoppage of fellow Brit and formerly unbeaten, Daniel Dubois.
Clearly the WBO could set into motion Usyk against Joyce for the first part of 2021 with the winner then waiting for a shot against Joshua or Fury likely in early 2022.