Anthony Joshua has been told by the WBO that he has 48 hours to prove that his fight against Tyson Fury can go ahead before he is obliged to face Oleksandr Usyk.
An imminent announcement over a much-anticipated clash between the two British heavyweights had been expected this week, with a date of August 14 in Saudi Arabia believed to be in the diary.
But those plans were thrown into chaos on Monday after an arbitrary judge ruled that Fury must take on Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout before September 15 due to a clause in their contract.
And despite initial hopes that Wilder would accept a lucrative walk-away pay-off the Bronze Bomber appears determined to beat Fury at the third time of asking, much to the huge disappointment of British boxing fans.
This means that Joshua’s likely next opponent is Ukrainian Usyk, and according to Sky Sports the WBO have told Joshua he has just two days if he wants to try to salvage the fight with Fury before he must make plans to take on the mandatory challenger.
Speaking to the broadcaster, Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk said: “The WBO is extremely happy as their mandatory challenger will be facing their heavyweight champion.
“What else can they desire? We are waiting for their approval letter!”
And WBO president Paco Valcarcel added: “I hope boxing fans will enjoy Joshua vs Usyk in the near future.
“Usyk said that he was crossing the English Channel by the time he received my message, and asked which turn he should be making. He was happy to hear the news.
“There is no other reasonable excuse for AJ now. If he is not avoiding Usyk, it is high time to face the mandatory! We are now in the position to make the fight happen as soon as possible.”