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WBO Orders Joshua Buatsi Vs. Will Hutchinson As Anthony Yarde Withdraws From Mandated Negotiations

WBO Orders Joshua Buatsi Vs. Will Hutchinson As Anthony Yarde Withdraws From Mandated Negotiations featured image
Anthony Yarde will no longer compete for the recently-introduced interim WBO light-heavyweight title with Queensberry stablemate Willy Hutchinson set to take his place against #1 contender Joshua Buatsi for the vacant WBO belt. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Joshua Buatsi and Willy Hutchinson have now been ordered by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to face each other after Anthony Yarde has dropped out of negotiations. The two fighters’ teams are now set to commence with negotiations which may be followed by purse bid proceedings if these talks do not yield fruits.

British light-heavyweight contender Willy Hutchinson (18-1, 13 KO’s), who recently competed on the June 1st 5 vs. 5 card to score a unanimous decision (UD) win over his opponent, will now take the place of Anthony Yarde (25-3, 24 KO’s) to potentially face Joshua Buatsi (18-0, 13 KO’s). According to the WBO, the swap was approved as Yarde, who is currently engaged in a contractual conflict with Queensberry Promotions, failed to respond to their 3-day notice for him to indicate whether he was still interested in fighting Buatsi. The 72-day notice had been sent after Yarde’s legal team asked for Yarde to be allowed to be withdrawn from their mandate.

Buatsi and Hutchinson will now start negotiations over the vacant WBO interim title that was introduced when Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KO’s) received an injury during preparation for an undisputed 175 lbs bout against Dmitry Bivol (23-0, 12 KO’s). The two British fighters are respectively represented by Boxxer and Queensberry Promotions.

One takeaway from the WBO’s press release regarding these circumstances reveals that Boxxer had attempted to give Anthony Yarde several weeks to sort out his contract situation with Queensberry as a potential solution towards his dispute, but the request was denied by the WBO on the grounds of Yarde failing to respond to their 72-hour notice.

The handling by Yarde of this mandate might see further repercussions take place, with the WBO confirming its Ratings Committee would deliberate on excluding Yarde from the sanctioning body’s rankings due to his apparent lack of response. Anthony Yarde has been ranked as the #2 contender on the WBO’s light-heavyweight ranking boards as of May 15, 2024. Joshua Buatsi is considered the #1 contender, while Willy Hutchinson is ranked at #6.

Despite Hutchinson being ranked lower than other contenders, the withdrawal of Yarde as well as Hutchinson’s performance last Saturday has convinced the WBO to consider him as a challenger for the interim WBO 175 lbs title.

Buatsi’s and Hutchinson’s teams have been given 10 days―from June 2nd to June 12th―to reach an agreement after which purse bid proceedings will occur if the negotiations fail.