Anthony Joshua, a boxer who holds three WBA, WBO and IBF championships, wants to fight Tyson Fury in 2020, instead of attending belt battles.
Joshua currently holds three of the four major boxing belts, including WBA Super, IBF and WBO. In 2020, he is supposed to protect the IBF belt against Kubrat Pulev, and the WBO belt against Oleksandr Usyk. If fighting both matches, the goal of fighting Fury this year is unlikely to be realized.
The organization of the All-England match still faces a barrier from Fury, as the boxer may have to fight a third battle with Deontay Wilder, if the American boxer activates this provision within the next month.
In mid-2018, Gennady Golovkin was stripped of the middleweightweight IBF for not agreeing to a title defense match, because he was busy with Canelo Alvarez. Later, Canelo himself was deprived of this IBF belt in mid-2019.
Absolute champions began to be mentioned in the late 1980s, with Mike Tyson among the first champions to acquire the three WBA, WBC and IBF belts in the middle of 1987. By 1988, the WBO was established. It took 20 years for the remaining three organizations to be recognized as one of the four major titles of boxing.
The concept of absolute champion is now understood as a boxer who acquires all four WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts. Around 2004 WBO coined the names unified champion (boxers won two of the four major champions), undisputed champions (won three belts), and super champions (all four belts). However, this division has not been agreed upon by the remaining organizations.
A boxer, if stripped but not due to losing, is still called the absolute champion. In 2000, Lennox Lewis was stripped of the WBA belt for not attending the organization’s title match. However, he was still called the absolute champion until April 2001, when losing to Hasim Rahman.