The unified cruiserweight champion can now request to become Joshua’s mandatory challenger at any time
Oleksandr Usyk has taken a huge step towards a potential fight with Anthony Joshua by becoming a WBO ‘super champion’.
The Ukrainian is now the undisputed cruiserweight king, having unified all four major belts by beating Murat Gassiev on July 21.
The first title he won was the WBO world championship, which he claimed from Krzysztof Glowacki.
Usyk has now made his fifth defence of that belt and, as he also unified all the titles, the WBO have declared him a ‘super champion’.
This is quite a rare occurrence with the WBO, who are reluctant to complicate their title situation like other governing bodies have been known to do.
The WBO only afford ‘super champion’ status to true kings of their division, in order to grant them special privileges.
One of these privileges is the ability to automatically become the mandatory challenger in the weight division above or below, should they choose to move up or down.
As Anthony Joshua is the current WBO heavyweight champion, this means Usyk could now become Joshua’s immediate WBO mandatory at any time he chooses and put himself in pole position for that bout.
“The votes have already taken place to name Usyk the WBO ‘super champion’,” a WBO representative exclusively told talkSPORT.com.
“He will be given a special belt.
“Based on the rules of the WBO, his promoter can request to the championship committee to name Usyk the mandatory challenger in the heavyweight division.”
It is unknown whether Usyk will look to activate this right in the near future, as he is currently eyeing up a potential bout against Tony Bellew.
Nevertheless it is understood his long-term goal is to face Joshua, and he now has a straightforward route to get there.