• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Usyk relinquishes IBF title, opens door for Anthony Joshua


Oleksandr Usyk has announced that he is relinquishing his IBF heavyweight world title, presenting it as a “gift” for Anthony Joshua and Daniel Dubois, who are set to clash at Wembley Stadium in September.

Usyk recently became the undisputed heavyweight champion after a remarkable victory over Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia.

In a social media video, Usyk addressed the two fighters directly: “Anthony Joshua, Daniel Dubois, listen. I know the IBF title is important to you. It is my present to you on September 21.”

Dubois, the interim IBF champion after his win over Filip Hrgovic on June 1, would defend his title against Joshua on September 21 at Wembley Stadium.
Usyk, in his announcement, seemed to belittle both Joshua and Dubois by referring to the IBF title as a gift.

Joshua has not competed in a world title fight since losing his unified world titles to Usyk in their rematch two years ago. Dubois was stopped by Usyk in his first world title shot last year.

The 26-year-old has a history with Joshua, claiming to have dropped him during a sparring session over five years ago.

A fight between Joshua and Dubois at Wembley is to be announced this week as part of Riyadh Season, a series of major boxing events supported by Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority chief Turki Al-Alshaikh.

Joshua is on a four-fight winning streak after back-to-back losses to Usyk in 2021 and 2022. He followed a points victory over Jermaine Franklin with impressive stoppage wins over Robert Helenius, Otto Wallin, and MMA star Francis Ngannou.

Dubois, who also suffered a ninth-round stoppage defeat to Usyk in his first world title attempt, has bounced back with consecutive wins inside the distance in Saudi Arabia against Jarrell Miller and Hrgovic. This sets up a highly anticipated showdown with former sparring partner Joshua, especially with a world title at stake.

Usyk’s decision to vacate the IBF title, despite Hrgovic’s defeat, allows him to focus solely on his rematch with Fury on December 21, avoiding the need to face Dubois as a mandatory challenger.