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Ambitious plans for Anthony Joshua to fight Deontay Wilder as part of a lucrative double bill in Saudi Arabia at the end of the year could fail to materialise if Daniel Dubois cannot recover from injury. Event organisers in the Middle East want Brit Joshua to take on Wilder in December on the same night as a prospective duel between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. The mega-money double bill would be one of the biggest nights in the recent history of the sport, but already the chances of the event coming to pass have been thrown into doubt.
That’s because WBA heavyweight champion Usyk is expected to face mandatory challenger Dubois in Houston, Texas on May 25, with the governing body having called purse bids for next week.
But 25-year-old Dubois is currently recovering from an injury and may not return to fitness in time to face Ukrainian Usyk in the US. And if that proves to be the case, the WBA has confirmed that the opportunity to face Usyk would then be handed to Wilder.
The American has already indicated that he would consider facing the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, should Dubois be forced to stand aside.
A statement from the WBA read: “The World Boxing Association (WBA) ordered the Purse bid between heavyweight super champion Oleksandr Usyk and his mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois, which will take place on May 25 in Houston, Texas.”
Boxing journalist Dan Rafeal Tweeted: “WBA told me that if Dubois is not available due to his knee injury or any other reason, Usyk will be ordered to face the next contender in the rankings, which is Deontay Wilder.”
Should Wilder ultimately end up facing Usyk next month, that would put a serious question mark over the 37-year-old’s proposed bout with Joshua in December. Saudi officials do not want Joshua or Wilder to fight this summer and risk scuppering a headline face-off in December, should either fighter lose beforehand.
Eddie Hearn has already indicated that he would like Joshua to potentially face Dillian Whyte in a warm-up fight this August, ahead of a more serious head-to-head with Wilder in the Middle East.
But Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel told Sky Sports: “If Deontay was offered the fight against Oleksandr Usyk, of course we would be interested.”
Usyk is keen to face Dubois next month, with more than an eye on the potentially explosive undisputed clash with Fury in December. It is not clear, however, if he would be as enthusiastic about a match-up with a fighter like Wilder before the December proposal has been rubber-stamped.
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