There is less than a month to go until the heavyweight unification showpiece between Tyson Fury, the WBC champion, and Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The fight, postponed in February when Fury picked up a late cut in sparring, takes place on May 18 and is supposedly the first of two consecutive fights between the pair, because a rematch clause is in place.

However, due to the form of Anthony Joshua in impressing first against Otto Wallin and then blitzing Francis Ngannou, some would like to see Fury – should he win – face Joshua next.

The all-British heavyweight clash has been at the top of wishlists for U.K. fight fans for years, and with Turki Alalshikh expected to run a show at Wembley later this year, what better fight to top an extravagant bill than with Fury-Joshua?

Usyk, however, is the favorite for some oddsmakers, and he has dreams of a homecoming, too, despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Regardless of where Joshua fits into things, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman says his organization has given the go-ahead for Fury and Usyk to fight twice, so a fresh petition would have to be made to deviate from that path.

“The WBC received a petition which was voted by the board [within the WBC], [they] accepted the unification fight and a rematch, so that’s what we have ruled,” Sulaiman explained. “Of course, if there’s a different petition, the WBC board will discuss and vote on it, but at this moment, the petition has the fight [Fury-Usyk] and the rematch, yes.”

Sulaiman understands that the British public craves Fury-Joshua, before it is either less attractive, less marketable or less of a sporting contest than it would be in 2024, and Sulaiman has seen Joshua reassert himself on the division and recreate savage momentum. 

“Everybody has been wanting to see [Tyson] Fury-[Anthony] Joshua for a long time, and Joshua has looked tremendous,” added Sulaiman. “Joshua was first ranked by the WBC, he was the WBC international champion for a long time, he had the opportunity from another organization while he was the second contender in the WBC, but I like him very much. He’s a great, positive [person] in the sport in all ways and it [Fury-Joshua] would be a tremendous fight.”

However, Sulaiman has also been sympathetic to the plight of Ukraine, since the invasion of Russia two years ago, and he is aware that while Britain might want its top-drawer sporting occasions, Ukraine needs its heroes, and Usyk could be a tonic for his countrymen.

“I mean, Ukraine is going through so much, and just the fighters performing in the ring, [Serhii] Bohachuk just won the [WBC Interim] title – he was just in Mexico – [Vasiliy] Lomachenko is going to Australia to try to come back as a champion [against Kambosos], and then there’s [Oleksandr] Gvozdyk against [David] Benavidez… That power that comes behind a country that’s being invaded has to have a lot of energy, and a result in boxing brings the whole spirit of a country, so [Usyk winning would be] a great moment for Ukrainian boxing.” 

Tris Dixon covered his first amateur boxing fight in 1996. The former editor of Boxing News, he has written for a number of international publications and newspapers, including GQ and Men’s Health, and is a Board member for the Ringside Charitable Trust and The Ring of Brotherhood. He is a former boxing broadcaster for TNT Sports and hosts the popular Boxing Life Stories podcast. Dixon is a British Boxing Hall of Famer, an International Boxing Hall of Fame elector, is on The Ring ratings panel and the author of five boxing books, including Damage: The Untold Story of Brain Trauma in Boxing, Warrior: A Champion’s Search For His Identity and The Road to Nowhere: A Journey Through Boxings’ Wastelands. 

Read the full article here