Hearn Admits Frustration As Joshua Prepares To Vacate Belt

Anthony Joshua could be forced to vacate either his WBO or IBF world heavyweight belts after both organisations named mandatory challengers.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO’s mandatory, while the IBF named Kubrat Pulev as theirs.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants his fighter to defend both belts, with a view to securing a unification bout with either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury but the Matchroom chief has revealed that one of the titles may need to be vacated.

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“We’ve written to the WBO and the IBF and it’s like, ‘No, we’re next. No, we’re next,”Hearn told iFL TV.

”Guys ,who’s next? ‘Well we are. No, we are.’ What are you gonna do, are you just gonna fragment the belts with a lack of common sense?

“There has to be some kind of rotation system that tells you who is next. You’ve got to encourage people to unify and to become undisputed.

“That has to be the holy grail and I feel it’s really frustrating, it’s one of the many problems in boxing.

“If they say, ‘Your next two fights have got to be mandatory, then [the other] mandatory.’ Okay.

“But don’t say, ‘No, these are your two fights and if you don’t like it you’ve got to drop a belt.’ That’s the frustrating thing and at the moment we might have to vacate a belt.

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“We’re gonna speak to Usyk, we’re gonna speak to Pulev, we’re gonna see what the deals are to be done with those guys.

“And we’re gonna push with the IBF and the WBO [for a solution]. It’s going to be a lot of hard work over the next couple of weeks trying to keep everyone happy.

“AJ is not afraid to lose a belt but the whole idea is to win them and defend them and that’s what he wants to do.”
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