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Anthony Joshua with dual mandatory order from IBF, WBO

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua faces a decision of keeping one of two titles after being told TWO sanctioning bodies want immediate defenses.

The International Boxing Federation (IBF) has already stipulated number one contender Kubrat Pulev is next before Joshua went through with his redemption rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. Just days after his triumph, Joshua has now been ordered to battle Oleksandr Usyk as the World Boxing Organization (WBO) mandatory challenger.

Joshua will have six months to complete the WBO’s wishes. This means one of those requests is impossible to follow through, and unless an exemption is granted, Joshua will be forced to give up a strap.

Promoter Eddie Hearn wouldn’t be drawn on Joshua’s potential first fight of 2020 when asked in the ring after the Ruiz victory.

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Hearn was pushed on the possibility of chasing an undisputed unification, which may be the only way Joshua keeps all his belts for longer than a few months. With WBC ruler and top division number one Deontay Wilder already locked in to fight Tyson Fury again, Joshua has nowhere else to go.

At the time in Saudi Arabia, Hearn said: “Tonight is about becoming the two-time heavyweight champion of the world. We can talk about that later.”

“It’s going to have to be quite quickly, because obviously now the vultures will be out, as I would be. I don’t blame them. “I’ve got to speak to the IBF and the WBO and see who goes first. I think it sounds like it’s the IBF, but we’ll wait for confirmation of that.

“AJ will want to maintain the belts and if that’s the case, I think it will be Pulev, and then Usyk. I think April or May, that’s a realistic kind of date.”

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Categories: Sports