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WBO denies Eddie Hearn’s extension request, orders Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk negotiations

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Teams for both boxers must reach agreement in next 10 days to face one another

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua 2 - Clash on the Dunes, IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The WBO has denied Eddie Hearn’s request to delay negotiations for Anthony Joshua’s (24-1, 22 KO) defense of his title against mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KO).

In a letter to Eddie Hearn and Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk, the WBO outlined their decision to force Hearn and Anthony Joshua to come to an agreement in the next 10 days to face Usyk, or head to an immediate purse bid.

The letter makes note of the recent arbitration ruling in which Tyson Fury was ordered to face Deontay Wilder in his next fight, indicating that there are now no more barriers preventing Anthony Joshua from facing his mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk next. Eddie Hearn had lobbied the WBO to give him until Monday, May 24 to confer with his client before heading into negotiations.

However, a lawyer for team Usyk argued that the former undisputed cruiserweight champion was “entitled to enforce his rights as mandatory challenger,” and the WBO agreed.

“Having exchanged numerous internal communications with Team Joshua, having granted Team Joshua multiple extensions, having reviewed all relevant communications between Team Joshua/Team Usyk, having examined the parties arguments and positions regarding the subject matter... it is hereby ruled as follows: The extension request is hereby DENIED.”

The boxers will now have 10 days to reach an agreement to face one another, at which point (if negotiations are unsuccessful) they would head to a purse bid, with a maximum “80/20 split in favor of Anthony Joshua,” and a minimum bid of $1 million.