ANTHONY JOSHUA and Tyson Fury have been given a huge boost after the WBO contacted Oleksandr Usyk over fighting Joe Joyce.
Joshua and Fury are closing in on a deal to secure the biggest fight in British boxing history.
But it remains to be seen whether, for the first time in heavyweight history, all four world titles can be on the line.
Usyk, 33, is the current WBO mandatory challenger, so would need to either challenge for the vacant belt or receive step aside money.
The Ukrainian has hinted he is willing to be paid off, and his manager confirmed Frank Warren’s son has contacted him to fight Joyce, 35.
That would see the pair fight for the ‘interim’ belt, promising the winner a shot at the title next, or inheriting the full version if it was vacated.
It would also pave the way for Joshua, 31, and Fury, 32, to compete in an undisputed title decider – but only when Usyk receives his compensation cheque.
His manager Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports: “I received the call from George Warren with the offer to promote Usyk vs Joyce for the interim WBO heavyweight championship this spring.
“We also received the letter from WBO saying that they are considering granting sanction for AJ vs Fury.
“But Usyk has never received any serious offer nor anyone approached him with the offer to ‘step aside’. We all read it from media.
“I know that the WBO in general and its president Paco Valcarcel in particular will never violate the rules of its organisation and sanction the major fight without Usyk’s consent.
“So now is the best time for the AJ vs Fury fight promoters to make Usyk a serious offer either to fight the WBO champion or to step aside and fight for the interim.”
If Usyk is not paid step aside money, Joshua’s promoter has already warned they could drop the belt to ensure they face Fury.
But the Gypsy King has also been given a heavyweight headache, with Deontay Wilder refusing to concede their trilogy.
Wilder, 35, was dethroned of the WBC belt last February but the pair already had a third bout contracted.
Fury and his team later argued the immediate rematch clause expired in October and as a result want to instead face Joshua.
Wilder responded by launching a mediation to salvage his crack at redemption, which is now due to go to arbitration in a last-ditch effort.
The Bronze Bomber, if unsuccessful, could likely receive a similar payout to Usyk, as Eddie Hearn revealed his confidence in Joshua fighting Fury TWICE.
Promoter Hearn said: “[Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum] is not too concerned. He feels like the contract is over.
“There is an arbitration going on in that respect. I don’t see that as an issue.
“If there is, Fury has to give Wilder some kind of compensation to take these two fights.”