Oleksandr Usyk has been ordered to defend the WBA heavyweight title against WBA Super champion Daniel Dubois, the news marking a potential hurdle to an undisputed clash with Tyson Fury.
WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Usyk retained his belts in August, outpointing Anthony Joshua 11 months after dethroning the Briton with another decision victory.
Meanwhile, Fury stopped Derek Chisora in an all-British clash this month to retain the WBC title, before facing off with Ukrainian Usyk at ringside.
The two unbeaten fighters were expected to face one other in the first quarter of 2023, but Usyk has now been ordered to defend his WBA belt against Dubois, following another recent order that the Ukrainian defends the IBF title against mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic.
With Frank Warren promoting both Fury and fellow Briton Dubois, a deal can likely be struck for the WBA-ordered bout to be delayed. It is unclear how Croatia’s Hrgovic will factor into the picture in the coming months, however.
Dubois last fought on the undercard of Fury’s recent victory over Chisora – the third win that the “Gypsy King” has achieved against the veteran – surviving an early scare to stop Kevin Lerena in Round 3.
The sole defeat of Dubois’ professional career came in 2020 against Joe Joyce, who is WBO interim champion and also promoted by Warren. As a result, any mandated Usyk vs Joyce bought could likely be delayed if necessary.