Undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 16-0 (12) “should become” the WBO mandatory contender to unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) if he decides to move up in weight as he has previously indicated he would do.
That’s the word from leading British promoter Eddie Hearn, who looks after both fighters.
Joshua, 29, is yet to select his next opponent with current WBO number one Dillian Whyte 25-1 (18) the frontrunner for his pre-booked date at Wembley Stadium in London on April 13, but recent talk suggests he will forgo that appearance in favour of his USA debut against undefeated Brooklyn behemoth Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller 23-0-1 (20).
Whyte may not be the WBO leading contender for much longer, according to Hearn.
“Under the WBO rules, Usyk, once he steps up [in weight] – if he steps up – should become that automatic mandatory. I was with the WBO last week in Puerto Rico,” Hearn revealed to Sky Sports.
“Dillian is number one. That won’t be called for another month or so, and it’s not due until September, October, but Dillian is in the running to be that mandatory, but if you turn down a shot at the world heavyweight title, these don’t come around very often.
“I want to make sure that deal is good enough for him to accept, but I also want him to take it, because this is it. This is the world heavyweight championship.
“You’ve got a chance to fight for it, in your own country, to become the king of the division.”
Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 32, was last in action in November when he had a tougher than expected outing against Tony Bellew 30-3-1 (20) before stopping him in the eighth round of a fight he was trailing on two of the judges’ scorecards.
Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn has revealed he has a date book for Usyk’s next fight but is yet to confirm which weight division that fight will take place in.
Former undisputed junior welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 34-0 (25) was installed as the WBO mandatory contender when he decided to move up to welterweight last year.