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WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has pledged his support to the first undisputed heavyweight unification clash of the four-belt era between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. The statement comes at a time in which the fight is in serious jeopardy after the IBF ordered Usyk to defend his title against mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic.
Unlike the IBF, Sulaiman says that the WBC will not let mandatories get in the way of the four-belt shootout. The sanctioning body has been very supportive of unification bouts in the past. Chiefly, when Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua held all the straps between them in 2018 and when Joshua and Fury first began negotiating terms for their all-British undisputed showdown back in 2021.
The IBF, on the other hand, have always been strong on pushing their mandatory challengers and with no date pencilled in for Usyk vs Fury they swooped in to give No1 ranked Hrgovic his shot at their strap after beating Zhang Zhilei in a final eliminator bout in August.
“The WBC has been extremely supportive of unification bouts,” Sulaiman told Sky Sports. “We supported back when Wilder against Joshua, it didn’t happen. Then we supported when the time could be for Fury against Joshua again and then we support Fury against Usyk.
“If it happens it will be a tremendous fight for the world and the WBC is supportive of that as long as the rights of the mandatory contender are not infringed. So, the timing right now looks very good for that to happen.”
Often when a mandatory fight is called that blocks a major unification clash, the champion’s representatives can request an exception from a sanctioning body to delay the order. However, Hrgovic has requested an immediate purse bid which under a technicality in the IBF’s rules, means there is no negotiation period to discuss a potential step-aside fee for Hrgovic to allow Usyk vs Fury to happen next.
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Usyk is now left with a defend or vacate ultimatum that carries potentially serious ramifications. If he chooses to take on Hrgovic next, he will delay the Fury fight and risk losing his title before being able to secure the legacy-defining bout.
Meanwhile, if he opts to vacate and face Fury next then the contest will lose its undisputed status. Fury has stated on multiple occasions that the only reason he is entertaining a fight with Usyk is because of the four-belts being on the line meaning The Cat may not be guaranteed the fight even if he pushes to make it happen next.
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