- Anthony Joshua will face Oleksandr Usik once again early next year
- They have activated the rematch clause after their title loss to Ukraine
- The winner was set to fight Tyson Fury in an undisputed showdown
- Instead he could have been made to defend his belt against Robert Hellenius.
According to the heavyweight contender’s manager, Anthony Joshua could face an inevitable defense against Robert Hellenius if he overtakes Oleksandr Usyak in his eagerly anticipated rematch.
In September in front of a capacity crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Joshua fell to a unanimous decision defeat to the Ukrainian, Usyak capturing the WBA, WBO and IBF titles.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that Joshua has activated the contract-agreed rematch clause and there will be another rift at Usyk early next year.
All roads point to a mouth-watering undeniable performance for the winner of the rematch against WBC champion Tyson Fury, when the Gypsy King made his trilogy bout in October with a decisive 11th-round stoppage with Deontay Wilder. The long-term rivalry ended.
Although there may be a further complication as mandatory defenses come into play, 37-year-old Helenius is potentially next in line when he won his WBA Finals Eliminator bout against Adam Konaki on the undercard of Fury’s victory over Wilder.
Anthony Joshua will fight again with recent winner Oleksandr Usyak early next year
After his victory over Adam Konecki, the next in line for the winner may be Robert Helenius.
Joshua took care of his IBF duties as he sent off Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in impressive style last December, while Usik was Britain’s WBO mandated challenger.
The WBA is therefore in line to implement the defense of the world title, naming Hellenius as the mandatory challenger.
The Hellenius have had three losses on their 34-fight record, most notably to Dillian White in 2017, but their manager Marcus Sundaran believes the heavyweight giant deserves a world title shot.
‘Right now we’re focused on WBA essentials,’ Sundman explained sky game.
Robert fought a WBA elimination bout against Adam Konecki in March 2020, and he sealed that victory in a rematch on October 9.
Usyk should really be Robert’s next bout. There is no more qualified challenger in the WBA. (Mahmoud) Charr, (Trevor) Brian, (Daniel) Dubois, do they deserve more? I do not think so.’
An undeniable showdown against Tyson Fury would aim for the Joshua-Useik winner
But the Hellenius loss to Dillian White in 2017 could prove to be a spanner in the works
Although there will be an undeniable bout on the agenda for both fighters and fans, Sundarman insists that they will fight for their chance at the world title,
He said, ‘Sometimes you have to dig your heels into the ground and fight for something important. ‘And I can’t think of anything in a sport more important than the heavyweight championship.
‘We will do what is necessary to assure Robert’s correct position as Usyk’s next WBA is inevitable.
“In the end, of course we have respect for (President) Gilberto (Mendoza) and the WBA, and we think eventually they will do the right thing and formally order Robert as the next essential.
‘WBA Essentials is the next reason, and that must be Robert.’
Dillian White will not fight Otto Wallin next weekend due to shoulder injury
Meanwhile, the heavyweight landscape has changed once again after White’s 30 October match against Otto Wallin was canceled by Britain due to a shoulder injury.
The winner was tipped to be the next opponent for Fury, who now struggles with a lack of options following his wilder win.
‘I was devastated because I had a great camp, was in great shape, and was great,’ White told sky game to cancel.
‘I was looking forward to taking out Wallin and would have done it in the first half of the fight.
‘I am devastated about not being able to fight on 30 October, but I want to thank everyone for their support.’