Posted on 10/06/2023
By: Sean Crose
With fans no doubt excited by the fact that the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title fight has finally been signed, the promoters and broadcast entities behind the battle can now no doubt breathe a collective sigh of relief. In a year that saw major battles, such as Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia and the long awaited welterweight superfight between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence, the inability to make Fury-Usyk a reality had become a major sore spot in an otherwise positive year. Now that the fight has been made, all seems well in the universe, for the winner of Fury-Usyk will be crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and there hasn’t been one of those since Lennox Lewis dominated the heavyweight division decades ago.
The truth, however, is that the winner of Fury-Usyk may not be undisputed champion for long. It’s been reported (by ESPN) that a rematch clause has been written into the contract. That means the loser gets the chance to enforce a rematch with the winner. It may, perhaps, be too much of a good thing. For the IBF is not going to acknowledge the rematch clause. What that means is either current IBF heavyweight champion Usyk or (by then) new IBF heavyweight champion Fury will have to give up the IBF belt if a rematch immediately occurs. In other words, the undisputed champion will have to give up one of the four major belts which make him undisputed, the others being the WBC, WBA, and WBO titles.
In truth, all of this might be good news for former heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. Although he’s been defeated by Usyk twice, he may get another chance to grasp the IBF title he once held if Fury and Usyk fight a rematch. As things currently stand, Flip Hrgovic is the top IBF heavyweight contender. And just behind Hrgovic in the rankings is none other than Anthony Joshua himself
In regard to the IBF, the Daily Mail claims “the winner of the first fight between Fury and Usyk has been ordered by the sanctioning body to defend against the dangerous unbeaten Croatian (Hrgovic) next, with no exceptions.” Give the IBF this – unlike other sanctioning bodies it isn’t known to widely play fast and loose with it’s own rules. It would be nice, however, to have an undisputed heavyweight champion for more than just a short amount of time. Flip Hrgovic, however, might respectfully disagree. As might Anthony Joshua.