Anthony Joshua wins back heavyweight titles - Oleksandr Usyk could be next
Andy Ruiz beaten on points in Saudi Arabia
Anthony Joshua won back his world heavyweight boxing titles by beating Andy Ruiz on points on Saturday, and within minutes had been ordered by WBO president Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel to face their mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk within the next six months.
"Clash of the Dunes is over ... now clash of mandatories will be next ... WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk within 180 days", tweeted Valcarcel before the fighters had even left the ring in Saudi Arabia.
Clash of the Dunes is over..now clash of mandatories will be next..WBO mandatory challenger @usykaa with in 180 days ..@EddieHearn ,@DAZN_USA ,@SkySportsBoxing @ESPNKnockOut ,@danrafaelespn ,@JakeNDaBox ,@LoMejorDelBoxeo— Paco Valcárcel, Esq. (@PacoValcarcel) December 7, 2019
Joshua responded in his post-fight interview by stating he would be happy to face Usyk, IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev, or Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder - who are set to face each other again on February 22 - "when they are ready".
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk seems in pole position to go in with AJ next and he would offer a very different challenge to Ruiz, who blamed poor preparation and weight gain for a disappointing performance in which he never looked capable of catching Joshua with the type of punches that knocked the Brit over four times when they first met in June.
Usyk is currently number five in The Ring's pound-for-pound rankings - Joshua doesn't even make the list - and would rely on his skills and conditioning rather than size and power.
Betfair and Paddy Power rate Joshua as a 1-2 favourite v 6-4 Usyk for their potential fight.
Fury is a marginal 4-5 favourite over 5-4 Wilder for their rematch, after their first fight ended in a dramatic draw just over a year ago.
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