Aleksandr Usyk stamped as mandatory WBO heavyweight title challenger
Aleksandr Usyk has a guaranteed heavyweight title fight even though he has yet to throw a punch in the division.
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) Championship Committee designated Usyk as the mandatory challenger to its heavyweight title over the weekend. The sanctioning body also announced that the winner of the upcoming rematch between titleholder Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua, who will square off in October or November, must face Usyk.
The ruling was issued upon a petition filed on June 3 by John Hornewer (Esq.) on behalf of Usyk. The ruling also is in conjunction with WBO bylaws, in which world titleholders who move up in weight and are labeled “super champions” can become mandatory challengers.
Prior to the ruling by the WBO, Dillian Whyte was the mandatory challenger. No word if he will move down a spot or where he will be ranked among the top-10.
Usyk (16-0, 12 knockouts), who resides in Kiev, Ukraine, became the undisputed cruiserweight champion on July 21, defeating Murat Gassiev by unanimous decision. Usyk last fought on November 10, stopping Tony Bellew in the eighth round.
The 32-year-old Usyk was scheduled to make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam on May 25, at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, but had to withdraw from the fight due to a biceps injury.
Usyk is managed by Egis Klimas and has a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
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