Oleksandr Usyk could yet avoid being stripped of heavyweight world title and disrupt Anthony Joshua plan

Oleksandr Usyk has ignited talks to keep his IBF heavyweight world title after beating Tyson Fury.

The Ukrainian became the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis achieved the feat in 1999, picking up a huge points win in Saudi Arabia last weekend to hand the ‘Gypsy King’ his first career defeat.

Usyk could fight Fury for a second time with all the belts on the lineCredit: Getty

But it was revealed that Usyk would likely be relieved of the belt by the IBF for his immediate contracted rematch against Fury, due to the fact Filip Hrgovic is an overdue mandatory challenger who first earned his position in 2022.

Hrgovic is set to face Daniel Dubois on June 1 and the hope was for the vacant IBF world title to be on the line.

Anthony Joshua was plotting his own route to the IBF, with a fight touted at Wembley Stadium against the winner of Hrgovic vs Dubois in September.

But Hrgovic, Dubois and AJ’s title hopes could still be a dealt a huge blow, after it was confirmed Usyk has applied for an ‘exception’ to try and keep hold of his IBF crown after beating Fury.

Usyk’s team have filed an official request and it will now be considered by the organisation according to IBF president Daryl Peoples.

Should the exception be granted, ‘The Cat’ could make a defence of his undisputed titles against Fury, who could still cement his name in the history books with a revenge win.

It would be at that point, after the sequel, that Usyk would then be forced to fight the IBF mandatory challenger if an exception is indeed granted.

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Hrgovic’s showdown with Dubois on the upcoming 5 vs 5 card between Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren, would then effectively form an eliminator for a shot at the undisputed titles with an IBF ‘interim’ belt potentially on the line.

Joshua may now face an anxious wait to discover his fateCredit: Queensberry

Joshua will wait to see what happens, but he could indeed pursue a non-title fight with Fury in 2025, if Usyk beats the ‘Gypsy King’ for a second time.

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum has insisted the all-British showdown remains on the table, but it will depend on the routes available.

Usyk has conquered it all and could write his name in the record books again by defending his titles.

But former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch insists Usyk’s business is done, and a second episode would be best avoided.

He said on talkSPORT’s ‘The Verdict’ podcast with George Groves:

I think the only thing Usyk will do is retire, he will either have the rematch or retire.

“He’s got nothing to prove. He’s beaten AJ twice, he’s now beaten Tyson Fury.

“He is the generational great for me. Usyk is the main, he is the leader of the pack.

“When you look back at this generation of heavyweights you’re going to look back and say ‘Oleksandr Usyk is the main man, he’s dominated’.

“In my opinion, he should retire, he’s done everything he needs to do, he’s made enough money, he’s mastered the game, he’s completed boxing.

“There is nothing left to do. undisputed cruiserweight, undisputed heavyweight, 37 years old, getting towards 40.”

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