The president of the World Boxing Organisation has released a statement that Anthony Joshua must defend his WBO title against mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk after beating Andy Ruiz Jnr 118-110, 118-110, 110-109 unanimous decision today to reclaim the WBA, IBF and WBO belts which he lost to Ruiz in New York early this year.
But soon after Joshua’s victory over Ruiz, the WBO president announced that Joshua must take on Ukranian Usyk within 180 days of Saturday’s win.
The implication of this is that Joshua will now have to defend his WBO title on or before June 4th.
If he Joshua fail to agree to meet the Ukrainian former cruiserweight king before June 4, he will be forced to vacate his belt which will be a huge setback to his hopes of adding the WBC crown.
If Joshua does vacate his belt, Usyk could face either Dereck Chisora or Joseph Parker for the strap, which would further divide the belts across the division.
The Ukranian has conquered the cruiserweight division and made his long-awaited step up in weight in October when he stopped Chazz Witherspoon in the seventh round.
While the WBO president has pushed Joshua into fighting USYK before early June, the British boxer’s promoter Eddie Hearn is yet ti announce the fight that would be next be on the cards for his fighter.
He said: ‘The future plans are to celebrate and celebrate hard, Joshua has won Olympic gold medal for great Britain and tonight in Saudi he became a two time heavyweight champion of the world.
‘Tonight he is the guvnor of the division, give him the respect he deserves.’
Joshua himself however did declare his interest in a third deciding bout between himself and Ruiz shortly after becoming a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.
‘If you heard – we’re gonna do a third’ Joshua said in his post-match interview.
On the matter, Ruiz also added: ‘I don’t want to give excuses. If we do the third I’ll be in the best shape of my life.
‘I thought I was going to come on stronger but next fight I’ll get prepared and look at my team.’