Although it may appear that Dillian Whyte could be the frontrunner to land a fight against unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, promoter Eddie Hearn revealed someone else could take his place.
Whyte has already been given an offer by Hearn to fight Joshua and a fight between the two could, in theory, fulfill Joshua's mandatory title defense requirement as the WBO champion. Whyte, the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the WBO, could potentially be ordered to fight Joshua in the coming weeks, but according to Hearn, undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk could become the WBO's mandatory challenger if Whyte doesn't accept Hearn's latest offer soon.
Usyk holds the WBO cruiserweight title and is eligible to vacate his title and immediately become the mandatory challenger to Joshua's WBO heavyweight title. Usyk has previously stated that his goal is to eventually fight Joshua for a shot at a world heavyweight title.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports Boxing, Hearn urged Whyte to take the fight against Joshua soon or else miss out on fighting for a world heavyweight title for some time.
"Under the WBO rules, Usyk, once he steps up - if he steps up - should become that automatic mandatory. I was with the WBO last week in Puerto Rico. Dillian is No 1. That won't be called for another month or so, and it's not due until September, October, but Dillian is in the running to be that mandatory, but if you turn down a shot at the world heavyweight title, these don't come around very often," Hearn said.
Joshua is currently scheduled to headline a Matchroom Boxing card from Wembley Stadium in April, but if Joshua does not get a fight for April, he could potentially come to the United States and face unbeaten contender Jarrell Miller in June.