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WBO moves Dubois to #2 ahead of Parker in new rankings

Image: WBO moves Dubois to #2 ahead of Parker in new rankings

By Sean Jones: Daniel Dubois has been moved ahead of Joseph Parker at #2 in the WBO’s new heavyweight rankings. The move by the World Boxing Organization places the unbeaten Dubois (15-0, 14 KOs) in a prime spot to fight #1 Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title if champion Anthony Joshua vacates the belt so that he can face Tyson Fury.

Dubois, 22, and Usyk would be an excellent battle for the WBO belt.  The Queensbury prompted Dubois crushed Ricardo Snijders (18-2, 8 KOs) in a second-round knockout last Saturday night on August 29 in London.

It’s not surprising why Dubois moved ahead of former WBO heavyweight champion Parker (27-2, 21 KOs), as he’s been busier. For example, Dubois fought five times in 2019.

For his part, Parker fought just once in beating journeyman Alex Leapai. This year, he beat Shawndell Terell Winters by a 5th round knockout last February.

Image: WBO moves Dubois to #2 ahead of Parker in new rankings

Dubois fought better opposition in 2019 in defeating these guys:

  • Nathan Gorman
  • Richard Lartey
  • Kyotaro Fujimoto
  • Ebenezer Tetteh
  • Razvan Cojanu

Earlier on Tuesday, Usyk’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk let Sky Sports know that Oleksandr is not going to step aside so that Joshua can face WBC heavyweight champion Fury.

Usyk is the WBO mandatory, and he’s supposed to be getting his mandated title shot after Joshua defends against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev in December.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had been counting on Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) stepping aside so that AJ could face Fury in early 2021, but he’s not going to do that.

As the WBO mandatory, Usyk has been waiting patiently for over a year to get a title shot. It makes sense for Usyk to fight for the WBO title while Joshua still holds it, as the money might not be as good if Tyson captures the belt.

Joshua could vacate IBF & WBO titles

“Of course, they’re going to say that,” said Hearn to iFL TV on Usyk wanting to fight WBO champion, Joshua. “That’s the truth. They want to fight for the world heavyweight title.

Image: WBO moves Dubois to #2 ahead of Parker in new rankings

“We have another issue with Kubrat Pulev where he’s mandatory, and we don’t have a crowd for that fight. So the original offer that we made for that one is invalid because we’ve run out of time and the world has changed. So we’ve got to negotiate the right price.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we want this fight [Joshua vs. Fury] to be undisputed,” said Hearn. “We really do, but there’s a very good chance that it might not be because even if something happened and we didn’t fight Kubrat Pulev, we’d have to vacate the IBF title.

“If we don’t fight Usyk, we’ll probably have to vacate the WBO title. So the #1 priority is to try and find a way to keep all the belts.

“But if it’s going to affect AJ in any way, there’s a very good chance that he may vacate all the belts except for one or two and just go into the fight.

The only way Joshua doesn’t fight Usyk is if Hearn and Fury’s management decides that they want to stage the Joshua-Fury fight in December or early 2021.

That’s probably not going to happen because this is the wrong time to be staging that fight. The pandemic is still going on, and Joshua and Fury won’t want to fight in front of a limited audience.

It makes sense for Joshua and Fury to wait until next year before they fight. In the meantime, Joshua can defend against Usyk and Pulev.

Hearn wants Joshua-Fury for all the belts

“What they say about it not mattering how many belts are on the line is true in the sense of the bigger picture for the casual fan,” said Hearn about it not mattering if titles are on the line for Joshua vs. Fury. “They [the fans] don’t care how many belts are on the line.

Image: WBO moves Dubois to #2 ahead of Parker in new rankings

“It’s just to find out who’s the best. I don’t think there’s one person in the world that doesn’t agree that the winner of Fury against AJ is the best heavyweight on the planet.

“But it’s always been our goal to be undisputed. So if we could find a way to do it, we will do it. But if we can’t, we will drop belts to do it,” said Hearn.

It only matters for fighters to have all the belts on the line when they don’t have a huge fan base. If you’re a fighter that is trying to pick up boxing fans, then it makes sense to try and become the undisputed champion for your weight division. However, it doesn’t always translate into a fighter becoming a star if they unify a division entirely.

Look at Usyk and Terence Crawford, for example. They both unified their respective divisions, and yet neither of them have become stars.

For a fighter to increase his fan base by becoming the undisputed champion, they need to beat other famous boxers. Usyk didn’t do that in unifying the cruiserweight division.

It would help the Joshua vs. Fury winner if they have all four belts on the line, but it wouldn’t help them in a considerable way. They’re both already big stars. Fury gained a lot of new fans due to his two fights against Deontay Wilder. If not for those two fights, his popularity in the U.S would be far less than what it is now.

Usyk vs. Chisora may be delayed

“The date for Usyk-Chisora is October 31, but we have a major problem with that fight being built around the soldout O2 Arena,” said Hearn.

Image: WBO moves Dubois to #2 ahead of Parker in new rankings

“Now if you don’t sell out the O2 Arena, there’s a couple of million quid hole in the money. It’s the same problem they’ve got with Joyce-Dubois. I think Joyce-Dubois would have done 10,000 tickets, but at the moment, the best they can get is 4,000.

“That’s a best-case scenario at this point for October. So the fighters have to take less money, or you have to wait. So that’s what we’re discussing with Usyk at the moment, and that’s what we’re discussing with David Haye [Chisora’s manager].

“Do you want to wait until things return back to normal, or do you want to take a little bit more risk on the pay-per-view and the numbers and go on October 31? I think we’re going to decide this week if we’re going to go on October 31,
Eddie said.

If the Usyk vs. Chisora fight is delayed, then that’ll potentially hurt Oleksandr’s ability to force Joshua to fight him in early 2021. Usyk isn’t going to be able to force Joshua to fight him if he’s still waiting on his match against Chisora in earl 2021.

It makes sense for the Usyk vs. Chisora fight to be delayed until the crowds come back because the money won’t be the same. If neither fighter cares about the money, then they can fight in 2020 on October 31 as planned. Usyk is in a tough spot. If he chooses to face Chisora for less money by facing him without a crowd, then he’ll hurt himself in doing so.

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Also, there are no guarantees that Joshua won’t vacate his WBO title. So even if Usyk does take a hit financially by fighting without a crowd, he still might not face Joshua for the WBO belt.


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