Daniel Dubois has been elevated to No 2 contender for the WBO heavyweight championship.
That not only edges him tantalisingly close to a world title shot at only 22 but also throws a potential spanner into the works for the much-anticipated super-fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Olexsandr Usyk is the mandatory challenger to Joshua with the WBO, who are demanding that this fight takes place in the new year.
With Usyk, who has moved up to heavyweight after becoming the only fighter in history to be the undisputed WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO cruiserweight champion, is insisting that he will not accept step-aside money to let Fury-Joshua happen first.
That would leave Joshua having to choose between postponing a date for the clash with Fury or relinquishing the WBO belt. The latter would deprive himself or the Gypsy King of any prospect of winning the undisputed heavyweight crown.
If that happens Dubois will find himself propelled into a title fight with Usyk after just 15 professional fights. Albeit all of them won, all except one by knockout.
Dubois would have no qualms about making that leap.
He says: ‘I feel already that I can beat all the best heavyweights in the world, Fury, Joshua, Wilder, Usyk, any of them.’
Frank Warren, promoter of the hottest young prospect in boxing’s marquee division, agrees: ‘This would be a great fight and a serious challenge for Daniel but I firmly believe he would beat Usyk.’
The WBO stood back once to allow Joshua to make an upcoming mandatory defence of his WBA tile against Kubrat Pulev on condition that he fights Usyk next. They are in no mood to allow a further delay.
Nor is the Ukrainian, who says: ‘I will not accept any offer to wait any longer. My absolute priority is to win a world heavyweight title as soon as possible.’
Fury and Joshua have agreed in principle a 50-50 financial deal for at least one, perhaps two, mega-bouts next year. Although both are keen to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, the enormity of the purses for their fight would likely trump that ambition.
To remain in this world heavyweight game, each of the four players has to come through a big fight this winter.
Dubois is scheduled to defend his British title against Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce at the 02 on October 24. Usyk has a rust remover against Dereck Chisora in the pipeline for next month.
Joshua v Pulev is now rescheduled for the 02 on December 12, with Fury’s trilogy WBC world title fight against Deontay Wilder likely for Las Vegas a week later.[Daily Mail]