The WBA are sticking to their promise to reduce their mountain of “world titles,” as the sanctioning body officially ordered “super world” heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Usyk to defend against “world” heavyweight titleholder Daniel Dubois.
This is another wrinkle in the title reign of Usyk, who also has the IBF and WBO belts, and was recently ordered by the IBF to face Filip Hrgovic next. Hrgovic requested an immediate purse bid.
The biggest goal, of course, would be for Usyk to take his three belts and meet WBC and lineal!!!!!! champ Tyson Fury in 2023. Fury has said he wants it, Usyk has indicated interest, and the two had a face-off after Fury’s last bout on Dec. 3.
There are a bunch of ways this could go:
- Fury vs Usyk does get done, and both the WBA and IBF agree to allow Usyk to do that fight without stripping him of their belts. Fury vs Usyk is big enough money that they’d probably do that, since they get more money from the sanctioning fee that way.
- Fury vs Usyk does get done, the WBA and/or IBF do not allow that for whatever reason — the IBF would be more likely here — and Usyk winds up stripped of one or both belts.
- Fury vs Usyk does not get done, and the WBA and IBF work together to let Usyk make one defense, then to be followed by the winner facing the guy who’s not going first. The WBA and IBF are working together this way right now with Gennadiy Golovkin, who is set to face Esquiva Falcao next, then Erislandy Lara, or at least that’s the plan.
- Fury vs Usyk does not get done, and Usyk winds up having to give up one of these belts.
- WILD CARD: Usyk gives up both belts, Dubois is then the sole WBA heavyweight titleholder — similar to Leigh Wood now finally being the only recognized WBA featherweight titlist — and Hrgovic fights someone for the vacant IBF title. Usyk does whatever Usyk will do from there. The “wild card” that could lead to this scenario would be Deontay Wilder, who wants an Usyk fight, even though he has an order to face Andy Ruiz Jr in a WBC eliminator.
The main thing here: Don’t panic about this being something that will absolutely prevent Fury vs Usyk from getting done. Key in on that first bullet point. We know that Fury (33-0-1, 24 KO) wants to get out again early in 2023 — February or March, probably not later than April — and there will be big money for Fury vs Usyk, likely from the Middle East, though it could make good money in the United Kingdom, too.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KO) is, of course, coming off of back-to-back wins over Anthony Joshua in Sept. 2021 and Aug. 2022, and has fully legitimized himself as a top heavyweight, with no question about that.
Dubois (19-1, 18 KO) was on Fury’s undercard earlier this month, coming off the canvas in round one (three times!) and fighting through an apparent leg injury to stop Kevin Lerena in round three. He’s won four straight since a 10th round stoppage loss to Joe Joyce in late 2020, where Dubois suffered a pretty nasty orbital injury. He’s still considered one of the top rising stars in the division, and at 25, is still a very young man at heavyweight.