WBO orders Joshua to defend title against Usyk

Boxing

The WBO on Saturday officially ordered a fight between unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua and the sanctioning body’s No. 1 contender, former cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

In a letter to both camps, the WBO wrote that the sides have 10 days to negotiate an agreement. If a deal is not reached, the WBO will order a purse bid for the rights to stage the fight.

On Wednesday, the WBO sent a letter to promoter Eddie Hearn to “show cause” within 48 hours why the WBO should not order the Joshua-Usyk fight, asking for confirmation of a Joshua-Tyson Fury fight proposed for this summer.

Hearn asked the WBO for an extension on Friday, but the request was denied.

If the fight goes to a purse bid, Joshua will receive 80% of the bid and Usyk 20%. “Such calculation is based upon the average purse of each fighter’s last three bouts,” wrote the WBO in the letter, adding that the minimum acceptable bid will be $1 million.

Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), who also holds the WBA and IBF world titles, was expected to face Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), the WBC titlist and lineal champion, after Hearn secured a $155 million site fee last week to have the fight in Saudi Arabia in August. But an arbitrator in the United Kingdom ruled on Monday that Fury had to face Deontay Wilder for a third time by Sept. 15, and Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) asked the WBO to order his mandatory bout against Joshua.

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