The long-awaited undisputed heavyweight unification bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury is almost entirely dependent on the cooperation of the four major sanctioning bodies and their agendas.
Since the four-belt era began in 2007, there have only been six male undisputed champions; Usyk (cruiserweight), Canelo Alvarez (super middleweight), Jermell Charlo (super welterweight), Terence Crawford (super lightweight), Josh Taylor (super lightweight) and Devin Haney (lightweight).
Although the female side of the sport is proof that sanctioning bodies can work together to establish the best fighters in each division, men’s boxing still has several issues to iron out.
Unification fights are often held up by sanctioning body mandatories as champions are left with the ultimatum to defend and miss out on the bigger fight or vacate and lose the belt they have worked so hard to gain. While undisputed champions rarely keep hold of their crown as they are subject to as many as four different challengers at a time.
“We all have discussed the importance of keeping unified champions, especially undisputed fights. And hopefully, this will be the case so that we all cooperate so that the fight takes place, and the winner can continue as undisputed down the road.”
He added: “Having four mandatory challengers as an undisputed champion is complicated. We usually have a rotation system, but it is just a matter of communication, good faith and flexibility to make the best for the sport.
“I know that fans really like undisputed champions, it is clear and simple that there is one champion. But then it gets very complicated with mandatories and the challengers, and different positions of promoters and networks. But I am very happy we are seeing a good era with several undisputed champions. We have Canelo, Inoue is fighting for the fourth belt next week, so it’s a great time for the sport.”