Will There Ever Be A Unified World Heavyweight Champion Again?
By Ken Hissner: It seems rematch clauses have kept the world heavyweight division from having a unified champion. When will it stop?
The most recent WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO World Heavyweight titles changed hands over the weekend when champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua, 24-2 (22), of the UK lost to southpaw Oleksandr Usyk, 19-0 (13), of the UKR, before 70,000 in attendance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in Tottenham, London, UK. Scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113.
The former Cruiserweight World Champion Usyk last defended his WBA, WBO, IBF, and WBC titles back in 2018. As a heavyweight in 2019, he traveled to the US, stopping Chazz Witherspoon, 38-3, in 7 rounds. Then in 2020, also in the heavyweight division, he defeated Dereck “War” Chisora, 32-9, by decision in London.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing announced after the event Saturday that there will most likely be a rematch in February of 2022 between Usyk and Joshua.
Per Fightnews, the WBA has Trevor Bryan, 21-0 (15), who won an interim title in 2018 and then in January of 2021 won the vacant WBA title stopping former WBC champion Bermane Stivern in 11 rounds but hasn’t fought since. Stivern, who had previously to this match been stopped by Wilder in 1 and Joyce in 6, should have never been considered in that vacant match.
The No. 1 ranked WBA contender is Daniel “Dynamite” Dubois, 17-1 (16), who, after losing to Joe Joyce, 13-0 (12), in 2020, losing his five minor titles, rebounded in 2021 with a pair of stoppages.
Joyce holds the WBC Silver, WBO International, and Commonwealth titles, stopping he defended in July 2021. In a 2012-2013 season tourney in the amateurs,
Usyk defeated Joyce 3-0. As an amateur, he encountered numerous opponents who went on to be professionals, such as Russian middle contender Matvey Korobov whom he lost to twice, one being a walkover, lost to IBF, and WBC welter champ Shawn “Showtime” Porter, who defeated WBC Super Middle and WBA Light Heavy champ Badou Jack and split in two matches with current WBC and IBF Light Heavy champ Russian Artur Beterviev winning the rematch and the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal. He was 6-0 in the World Series Boxing series.
The IBF and WBO’s No. 1 rankings are vacant. The IBF has former IBF champion “Prince” Charles Martin, 28-2-1 (25), the No. 2 ranked, but he hasn’t fought since February 2020. The WBO has Joe Joyce, as previously mentioned, as their No. 2 ranked.
The WBC World champion who most including this writer consider the heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury, 30-0-1 (21), of the UK, is scheduled in a third match with former WBC champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 42-1-1 (41), of the US on October 9th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Their first match in December 2018 ended in a disputed draw, with Fury getting the short end of the decision. Fury would score a pair of wins before the rematch in their second encounter, where Fury in February of 2020 stopped Wilder in 7 rounds. Neither has fought since, but Wilder demanded a rematch per their return clause.
If Fury wins, there will not be a fourth fight with Wilder unless there is a draw or no-decision. If Wilder wins, will there be a fourth match? Former WBC champion Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz, 34-2 (22), of the US, is the No. 2 ranked WBC contender who, after stopping Joshua in 7 rounds in June 2019, lost in a rematch by decision in December of 2019. In May of 2021, in his lone fight since the 2019 rematch, he scored a win over Chris Arreola, 38-6-1. Was it why he never had a third fight with Joshua may have been he had no rematch clause?
So to summarize, we have Fury and Wilder III on October 9th. There is a proposed February 2022 rematch for Usyk and Joshua. If Fury and Usyk win, then hopefully, there will be a final unification match in late 2022, pairing the both of them. But don’t hold your breath!
- Anthony Joshua will be “ruthless” against Usyk – says Hearn
- Eddie Hearn expects Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte to be ordered at WBC’s next convention in November
- Joshua angry, ready to thow Usyk on the floor, wants “war” in rematch
- Anthony Joshua Suggests He Is Going To Let His Hands Go In Oleksandr Usyk Rematch