Usyk Set to Lose IBF Belt Days After Unification: Bellew Blasts Boxing Politics

By James Slater - 05/21/2024 - Comments

As fight fans have most likely read by now, it looks as though Oleksandr Usyk will be stripped of the IBF heavyweight belt; this just days after the amazing Ukrainian defeated Tyson Fury to become the very first four-belt heavyweight title holder in the history of the sport. In a nutshell, Usyk will be forced to give up the IBF belt as he is contractually obligated to fight Fury in a rematch (the talking date being October 12), thus denying IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic a shot at the strap.

It is now fully expected that Hrgovic, who fights Daniel Dubois on June 1 in Saudi, will fight Dubois with the vacant belt on the line. Usyk, then, will only be the four-belt king for a short while, and this is a real shame, a shame that could be avoided according to some people. Tony Bellew for one is disgusted by the IBF and the fact that Usyk, for everyone and anyone on planet earth THE heavyweight champion, will soon likely lose one of his belts.

“This is the reason my great sport continues to shoot itself in the foot! Why does he need to vacate? He’s the best heavyweight in the world and just showed it! Let him do the rematch or fight the best contender! Simple Really! Infuriating, the politics of the sport!” Bellew wrote on social media.

Agreed, in full.

Hrgovic is a good fighter and he deserves his shot, but surely he will not want to become champion this way. Hrgovic would no doubt want to test himself against Usyk and try and become the real world champion. But this won’t happen. We’ll have to wait and see if Fury, who took a real hammering in that ninth round against Usyk, wants to take the immediate rematch, but the IBF will not wait around.

Fury himself was stripped of the IBF heavyweight title just a short time after he had defeated Wladimir Klitschko to become WBA/IBF/WBO ruler back in 2015. Fury had contractually agreed to fight Klitschko in a rematch, therefore he could not fulfil the enforced IBF mandatory defence against Vyacheslav Glazkov (who ended up losing to Charles Martin, with Martin winning the vacant IBF belt; Fury of course never boxed a rematch with Klitschko, instead retiring for long months due to mental health issues).

Now, Usyk finds himself in the exact same position Fury was in all those years ago. Sadly, some things never change in this sport.

As for the Hrgovic-Dubois fight and it being for the vacant IBF title, the likelihood is the winner will make his first defence against Anthony Joshua in September. But will all four heavyweight titles ever come back together again?

Whatever the case may prove to be regarding the alphabelts, everyone knows who the real champion is, who the true heavyweight champion is. Oleksandr Usyk reigns supreme and he will continue to do so until he is beaten or until he retires. It’s really that simple.

Last Updated on 05/21/2024