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WBO moves Joe Joyce to #2 in heavyweight rankings

Image: WBO moves Joe Joyce to #2 in heavyweight rankings

By Charles Brun: Joe Joyce has been moved up to #2 in the WBO boxing rankings following his tenth round knockout win over previously ranked #2, Daniel Dubois, last month on November 28th.

The move by the World Boxing Organization to elevate the unbeaten Joyce (12-0, 10 KOs) to the number two spot in their rankings means that he #1 Oleksandr Usyk if WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua vacates his title.

Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) wants to fight Tyson Fury in the first part of 2021, and he can’t do that if he’s preoccupied with his WBO mandatory Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), who has already made it clear that he won’t step aside.

Oleksandr insisting on fighting for the WBO belt

Usyk wants his title shot and the WBO will likely enforce it because the 33-year-old Ukrainian fighter has already been waiting since 2018 to challenge for the belt.

WBC heavyweight champion Fury’s problems with Deontay Wilder could force him to face the former champion in the first half of 2021. Fury could have already gotten this fight scheduled, but he and his team claimed that the rematch time limit on the contract had expired.

Image: WBO moves Joe Joyce to #2 in heavyweight rankings

Rather than sticking it out to make the fight, Fury decided to move on towards a softer target. Fury wanted to fight the light-hitting #15 WBC ranked Agit Kabayal.

In hindsight, Fury should have done the responsible thing by scheduling the fight with Wilder. Instead, Fury tried to circumvent his responsibility, and now he’s in a mediation process with ‘The Bronze Bomber,’ which could go in the American’s favor.

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If the mediator rules that Fury must face Wilder next, it’ll tie him down with the talented knockout artist through the first half of next year. In the meantime, Joshua will need to stay busy, and he’ll likely choose to defend his WBO title against mandatory challenger Usyk.

It’s not going to be a big fight, but Joshua isn’t going to give up his WBO and look weak in front of his boxing fans around the world. AJ isn’t going to want to look like Fury in trying to get out of a fight that he’s required to take.

Image: WBO moves Joe Joyce to #2 in heavyweight rankings

Joshua will have time to face Usyk

“I think the No 1 priority will be to make the Tyson Fury fight, but there are a few potential obstacles,” said Matthew Macklin to Sky Sports.

“What’s going to happen with Deontay Wilder, is that all sorted out? Do Fury and Wilder end up doing the trilogy in the first part of the year?

“If they do, then I think the Usyk fight will definitely happen as Joshua won’t sit around and wait,” said Macklin.

Fury likely to be busy with Wilder in the first half of next year; Joshua will surely head in the direction of Usyk to take care of him so that he doesn’t lose that belt.


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