As Anthony Joshua regained his IBO / IBF / WBO / WBA Super Heavyweight World titles the IBF and WBO ordered the mandatory defense. And both organizations set similar deadlines. At IBF, he has to defend his title by May 31, and at WBO by June 4, which in practice means he has to give up one of his belts, as he is scheduled to take fight next April. This way, only one match will fit until June, so if the two organizations don’t agree that one is willing to wait, then he has to decide.
We’ve previously written that Matchroom Boxing would be better if AJ off giving up the WBO belt and defending the title against IBF’s mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev. And for the vacated WBO belt Oleksandr Usyk could probably fight Joseph Parker. Eddie Hearn’s plan that AJ try to get back the title from the winner later. But Joshua’s plan is different.
In an interview on IFL TV Joshua said if he has to choose, he would prefer the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO’s mandatory challenger. He said that he considered Pulev and Usyk to be great warriors, and he didn’t underestimate either of them. He would not choose who is the easier opponent, but rather who is the bigger challenge, which one is the most interesting opponent. Usyk was an Olympic champion in 2012 (just like Joshua), an undisputed champion in cruiserweight and has already tried himself in heavyweight. In his view, Usyk put more on the table than Pulev and he wants to fight the toughest of the two tough opponents. He wants that in his record include names like Usyk on the defeated list.
He said to have begun studying and analyzing Ukrainian. He plans to find Usyk’s previous opponents to gather information on how to defeat him.