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HomeBoxingEddie Hearn hints Anthony Joshua might vacate his WBO heavyweight title

Eddie Hearn hints Anthony Joshua might vacate his WBO heavyweight title

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WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua may be vacating one of his world titles, and promoter Eddie Hearn explains why it will be the WBO belt.

Joshua was about to have the biggest fight of his career on 14th August this year in Saudi Arabia as he would square off against WBC titleholder Tyson Fury for the undisputed crown, a bout which is even touted to be one of the greatest ever in the sport.

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Unfortunately, just a day after the date and venue for the fight were officially confirmed, Fury’s former foe Deontay Wilder won his arbitration case for a trilogy fight, and as per their deal, the “Gypsy King” is now required to have his third fight against the “Bronze Bomber”, which is scheduled to take place on 24th July at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Joshua, who is coming off of a unified title defense via a 9th round TKO victory over Kubrat Pulev back on 12th December last year at The SSE Arena in London, is now without a confirmed fight this year, although Fury himself confirmed that the Joshua fight will be happening 100% in 2021.

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If the belt goes, the belt goes: Hearn suggests Joshua may vacate his WBO title if he doesn’t nod to facing Usyk

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Amidst all these, there are talks ongoing that AJ will be required to face mandatory WBO contender Oleksander Usyk, a fight which the organisation themselves have ordered right away after the Fury fight was dropped, claims Joshua’s promoter and Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn.

Although Hearn is not completely turning down the Usyk fight, he claims that it all depends on Joshua and if he doesn’t feel like taking the fight, he may as well vacate the WBO belt, as the British promoter told Boxing Social in a recent interview.

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“We negotiate all the time with people who sometimes aren’t entitled to a fight, and we got it again now,” said Hearn, “the WBO straightaway sent a little in, ‘You’re now fighting him.’”

“But I’ll tell you something right now. AJ is not in the mood, nor am I to be told what to do by governing bodies right now. There is no guarantee for an undisputed fight right now,” the 41 year old added.

While the undisputed title fight against Fury is now sidelined, Joshua has a number of option other than just Usyk. WBC interim champion Dillian Whyte recently threw in an appeal for a rematch, while Andy Ruiz Jr and Luis Ortiz are also viable options.

Hearn said that he has been in contact with Usyk’s manager Alex Krassyuk as they still prefer facing the Ukrainian. However, with the four belt title fight against Fury uncertain, AJ’s best option may just be to vacate his WBO title.

“…I am speaking to Alex Krassyuk [Usyk’s manager]. That is our preference. That is the fight that I think is most likely,” Hearn went on, “but again, it’s got to be right. If the belt goes, the belt goes.

“In an ideal world, we keep the belt; we always want to keep the belt. But we’ll see what happens,” he acknowledged.

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Saikat Banerjee
Saikat Banerjee
A wordsmith who indulges in the world of combat sports, Saikat is an MMA, boxing, and arm wrestling content writer at The MMA India Show and The Sports Room. Apart from combat sports, he also engages in Indian sports content at The Sports India Show. Currently pursuing an MBA from Jadavpur University, Saikat's other interests lie in motorcycling, working out, and travelling.
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