Anthony Joshua has been ordered to face WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk following the collapse of his undisputed heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury.
Joshua was on the verge of securing a long-awaited clash with Fury this summer, having reached a two-fight agreement with his domestic rival back in March.
The British duo were expected to meet in Saudi Arabia on August 14 before locking horns in a rematch towards the end of the year.
Yet, those plans were derailed in sensational fashion this week when Fury was ordered by a US court to instead defender his WBC title against Deontay Wilder before September 15.
The Gypsy King battered Wilder from pillar to post in their Las Vegas rematch 15 months ago, dropping him to the canvas twice and forcing the towel to come in during round seven.
He was contractually obliged to meet the American for a third time after ripping the title from his grasp, but promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren were adamant that clause expired in October.
Fury and his team therefore turned their attention to a British battle with Joshua which would have crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000.
However, he now has no choice but to face Wilder again following the Court of Arbitration's ruling, as the latter has no intention of accepting step-aside money.
That means Joshua must also shift his focus elsewhere after this week's earth-shattering blow, with mandatory challenger Usyk now in his sights.
The WBO have ordered AJ to fight the Ukrainian in his next contest after giving him 48 hours (until Friday May 21) to salvage his potential clash with Fury.
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They now have 10 days to agree terms before purse bids will be called, despite Eddie Hearn's attempt to delay the order until Monday May 24.
Usyk, who has been mandatory challenger for Joshua's WBO strap ever since he moved up to heavyweight, and his team rejected the delay, meaning negotiations over his title shot will now begin.
READ MORE:Oleksandr Usyk’s eerily demanding message to Eddie Hearn over Anthony Joshua fight
READ MORE:Deontay Wilder steps up Tyson Fury prep with topless beach workout in 'revenge' post
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