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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Pattle

Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk edges closer as IBF removes mandatory challenger

AFP via Getty Images

In a boost to the chances of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk fighting one another to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion, the IBF has rescinded its order for the Ukrainian to face Filip Hrgovic.

The IBF recently ordered Usyk to defend the organisation’s title against Hrgovic, the mandatory challenger to the belt. As a result, Usyk, who also holds the WBA, WBO and IBO titles, would have had to delay a bout with WBC champion Fury or face the Briton without the IBF belt on the line – meaning the winner would not achieve undisputed status.

Now, however, the IBF has allowed the WBA’s mandatory challenger to be ‘next in rotation’ for Usyk. Daniel Dubois is the WBA Regular champion and mandatory challenger to Usyk’s version of the belt, but the Briton is promoted by Fury’s representative Frank Warren, meaning a deal can more easily be struck to delay Usyk vs Dubois.

As such, Fury vs Usyk is increasingly likely to go ahead next – and with all the titles on the line – as key figures in negotiations target a March fight date.

“We are all looking at March, and everybody is really up for getting this done, and we are all really positive it will get done,” Warren told Talksport on Tuesday (10 January).

“There’s still lots of things to be sorted out, but I genuinely believe this will happen.

“It’s good the IBF yesterday knocked out they were going to have their mandatory, they cancelled it. Everything is looking positive for it.”

Fury, 34, last fought in December, stopping compatriot Derek Chisora in Round 10 to secure a third win against the veteran, while retaining the WBC heavyweight title and remaining unbeaten.

Meanwhile, 35-year-old Usyk’s last fight came against Anthony Joshua in August. The southpaw outpointed “AJ” for the second time in 11 months to retain the belts that he took from Joshua in 2021.

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