Anthony Joshua expected to fight Daniel Dubois for world title as Oleksandr Usyk vacates IBF belt

25 June 2024, 21:35 | Updated: 26 June 2024, 14:30

Anthony Joshua is expected to fight Daniel Dubois for the IBF heavyweight belt after Oleksandr Usyk confirmed he was vacating the world title.

Usyk defeated Tyson Fury on points to become undisputed champion with the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF titles, but has announced he will relinquish his IBF belt ahead of a planned fight between Joshua and Dubois at Wembley Stadium on September 21.

The Ukrainian confirmed the news via his Instagram account and Dubois has now been upgraded from IBF interim title holder to IBF champion.

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"Hey Anthony Joshua, Daniel Dubois, the IBF Belt is my present for you for 21.09.2024. The world loves strong. Your friend, Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, Oleksandr Usyk," he posted.

Dubois, who Usyk defeated last year, holds an IBF Interim belt and would have been the mandatory challenger for Usyk, who is contracted to rematch Fury, a bout which has been set for December of this year.

Joshua, formerly a unified world champion himself, has previously lost twice to Usyk.

He returned with a points win over Jermaine Franklin in 2023, but then followed up with two stoppage victories over Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin.

He has boxed once this year already, taking out Francis Ngannou in just two rounds. Ngannou, a former UFC champion in MMA, was an inexperienced boxer, but he had managed to go the 10-round distance with Tyson Fury in his first professional boxing bout.

Dubois has also rebuilt successfully from a loss to Usyk.

The 26-year-old challenged Usyk for the WBO, WBA and IBF titles at the Wroclaw Stadium in Poland last August. Dubois put in a game effort, pressing the Ukrainian initially. Usyk had to rise from a low blow, a ruling which Dubois and his team still dispute, to halt Dubois in the ninth round.

The Briton though went on to grind down Jarrell Miller in December and at the start of this month pounded Filip Hrgovic to a halt to win the IBF Interim strap.

"[Being world champion] is a dream. From challenging for the world title to getting the chance to win [it] outright, that's what I want," Dubois declared after that fight.

"I'll demolish Joshua. I'll get even better from here."

As he looks to reclaim his former position in the division, Joshua said: "I've got to pick them off one by one.

"It's not going to be easy, but that's my mentality. So come one, come all.

"He [Dubois] has been in tougher fights [now], so he becomes hardened. He has worked his way up the ladder, we'll see what happens.

"I'll turn up and do my job."