Thursday, June 20, 2024

Usyk victory over Fury poses big questions for boxing as Joshua waits in wings

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Oleksandr Usyk stands at the summit of the boxing world after dispatching Tyson Fury in Riyadh in the early hours of Sunday morning to be crowned undisputed world heavyweight champion.

Here the PA news agency looks at the repercussions of the result.

What has the fight taught us about the division?

That it is in rude health. Fury v Usyk bears comparison with the great heavyweight contests and while they are a cut above the rest of the pack, the likes of Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, Daniel Dubois and Agit Kabayel offer genuine depth.

What next for Fury and Usyk?

An immediate rematch clause was written into both fighters’ contracts and they are set to clash in Riyadh in October.

It will not be a fight for the undisputed championship, however, because the IBF is to strip the belt from Usyk as he will be unable to face mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic due to the second instalment of his rivalry with Fury.

What if Fury wins?

Tyson Fury gestures ahead of the bout (Nick Potts/PA)

The schedule for 2024 and 2025 had been carefully mapped out by the Saudi Arabian paymasters whose financial resources are making fights happen.

Had Fury won on Saturday, the plan was for him to defend the belts and then face Joshua twice next year with the second bout taking place at Wembley Stadium.

But Usyk is now in the driving seat and if he wins again in October, a trilogy fight against Joshua beckons. Should Fury topple the Ukrainian in another classic, the clamour for a decider will be impossible to ignore.

What does Joshua do in the mean time?

Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk
Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk (PA)

Since being outpointed twice by Usyk, Joshua has rebuilt by reeling off four victories that have put him back in title contention.

Dubois will face IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic for the soon-to-be vacant belt in Riyadh on June 1 with the the winner of that fight taking on Joshua, most likely at Wembley in September.

It raises the likelihood that whether Usyk or Fury is Joshua’s opponent next year, it could be another fight for the undisputed title.

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