British star set for world heavyweight title shot on Hearn vs Warren card – Dan Rafael

The world heavyweight title picture is as complicated as ever right now, but it is starting to clear with a British star set to get a major opportunity to gatecrash the party.

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk are set to lock horns at last for all of the heavyweight marbles in Saudi Arabia on May 18 – with the winner set to become the sport’s first undisputed king since Lennox Lewis back in 1999. That’s where it starts to get complicated again.

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According to highly respected US boxing writer Dan Rafael, the Fury vs Usyk contract contains a clause stating the winner must vacate the IBF title before June 1. That leaves the way open for a new champion while Fury and Usyk move on to their contracted rematch.

There had been much speculation that the rejuvenated Anthony Joshua might face mandatory contender Filip Hrgovic (17-0) for the IBF belt, but not so according to Rafael. Instead he believes another British heavyweight in the shape of Daniel Dubois (20-2) will get the title chance against the unbeaten Croat. He believes the bout will take place on that massive Eddie Hearn vs Frank Warren 5 on 5 show on June 1.

Daniel Dubois vs Jarrell Miller Results Day of Reckoning Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Daniel Dubois blasts his way to a stoppage victory vs Jarrell Miller on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Photo – Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing).

Dan Rafael on heavyweight title picture

He told Boxing News on YouTube: “Filip Hrgovic is gonna fight Daniel Dubois for the vacant IBF heavyweight title – that’s gonna be one of those 5 on 5 fights.

“Let’s back up for a second, the winner of Fury vs Usyk contractually is supposed to vacate the title within a certain period of time following the fight, but before June 1 – which is when the fight card will take place.

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“Now if the winner of that [Fury vs Usyk] fight throws a hissyfit and tries to go against the contract and not vacate, there’s no reason I guess why the IBF, I guess they would strip that person because they’re in on that deal also.

“So it’s like 99% that when Hrgovic and Dubois fight on the June 1 undercard in part of that group of fights, that it will be for the vacant IBF title and so that would put the winner of that fight in position where [Anthony] Joshua would be the next number one challenger.”

What does it mean for Anthony Joshua?

All the recent speculation has Joshua fighting the winner of that Hrgovic vs Dubois showdown on a massive Wembley show (another 5 on 5 card) in September. But Rafael also foresees a potential scenario where the clamour for a Fury vs Joshua fight becomes so great, that it happens next.

He continued: “Joshua is in a great position because a) he’s going to get a shot at the IBF title if he wants it against the winner of that fight between Hrgovic and Dubois and b) he could wind up fighting Tyson Fury.”

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Rafael referenced the many bumps in the road towards a Fury vs Joshua blockbuster, but he is now high on the chances of it actually happening.

“I am 100% convinced that as long as these guys continue to do what they are supposed to do, that fight it’s not if it will happen, it’s when it will happen.”

YouTube video