Hearn says Joshua will vacate WBO belt rather than enter purse bids for Oleksandr Usyk fight

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Olexandr Usyk GettyImages

Eddie Hearn has admitted that Anthony Joshua will vacate his WBO title if a deal can’t be made to take on mandatory challenger, Oleksandr Usyk. 

Joshua appeared to be gearing up towards a showdown with Tyson Fury but that unification battle was thwarted by Deontay Wilder who was handed his rematch with the WBC champion following a ruling from an arbiter. 

That decision left Joshua without a summer opponent and negotiations with Usyk have been ongoing ever since. If a deal can’t be reached then the WBO will call for purse bids and that’s a situation Hearn wants to avoid. 

“We’ll either make a deal or we’ll vacate,” said Hearn to the press following Devin Haney’s points win over Jorge Linares last weekend. “I mean, we won’t be going to purse bids or anything like that, and mucking around.  

“By the way, I don’t blame the WBO. They were actually quite generous to us with our time. I mean, let’s be honest – it dragged on a lot, didn’t it? So, I have to take my hat off to [WBO president] Paco Valcarcel, because he did put himself, his neck on the line, to allow that fight, when Usyk had a strong case for it not to be allowed. 

“But when the time come, [Valcarcel] had to do what he had to do. So, I’m not annoyed with the WBO. I’m just annoyed that it seems that basically AJ is told who he’s got to fight every single time. But that's the problem of having three or four belts. That’s just how it is.” 

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