Oleksandr Usyk Steps Aside For Joshua Vs Daniel Dubois IBF Title Bout

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Joshua is now set to get his chance to be a three-time world champion as Oleksandr Usyk confirmed he has surrendered the IBF heavyweight title to allow Daniel Dubois and Anthony Joshua to fight for it on September 21.

The Ukrainian became the first undisputed champion in the sport’s glamour division for 25 years when he beat Tyson Fury in May. But now the belts have been split up again as Usyk – who was due to be called for a mandatory defence – has given up the IBF title.

IBF ‘interim’ champion Dubois is now set to be either upgraded to full champion or the vacant title will be on the line when he faces fellow Brit Joshua at Wembley Stadium on September 21. Usyk said: “Anthony and Daniel listen, I know IBF title is important to you.

“It is my present to you on September 21. The world loves strong. Your friend, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Oleksandr Usyk.”

Usyk is set to face Fury in a rematch on December 21 which was part of the contract he signed for the first fight, which he won on points to add the WBC title to his collection. The undisputed crown won’t be on the line for the second fight.

Daniel Dubois, who fights Filip Hrgovic on June 1, gave Oleksandr Usyk problems when they fought in Poland last year

Dubois came up short against Usyk when they met last year

That meant he was not in a position to make a mandatory defence against Dubois, so he would have been stripped in the coming weeks. Dubois beat Croatian Filip Hrgovic earlier this month to claim the ‘interim’ title and remove his rival from the No 1 spot.

The British heavyweight has been in talks about facing Joshua since with contracts being finalised over the weekend. That bout is expected to be made official this week for a stacked Wembley Stadium card.

Dubois, 26, and Joshua, 34, have both enjoyed revivals of different levels in their careers in the last 12 months.

The former has enjoyed stoppage wins over Jarrell Miller and Hrgovic on cards in Saudi Arabia since an August 2023 defeat by Usyk. While ‘AJ’ has beaten Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius, Otto Wallin and MMA fighter Francis Ngannou since his 2022 defeat by the Ukrainian.

Joshua lost the WBA, IBF and WBO titles in his first meeting with Usyk in 2021. He also lost them to Andy Ruiz in June 2019 but won them back later that year. He is now aiming to be a three-time world champion.

Dubois’ promoter Frank Warren has long fancied his man’s chances against Eddie Hearn-backed Joshua and said earlier this month that his man would be walking first to the ring.

“He will be going into it as the interim champion so if the fight does happen then AJ will have to walk first,” said Warren.

“I like the fight, I really do like the fight and whoever wins the fight, it’s a great fight for Britain, they’re two Brits and they’re both massive punchers.”