By Jake Donovan

Just days after formally being named the new World Boxing Organization (WBO) cruiserweight titlist, Krzysztof Glowacki has his first mandatory challenger lined up—and just so happens to be the man he’s already facing next in the ring.

The now two-time titlist from Poland received an upgrade earlier this week from interim to full cruiserweight champ in the eyes of the WBO, whom relieved Oleksandr Usyk of such honors as the unbeaten Ukrainian will embark on a heavyweight run.

Initially, the WBO blessed Glowacki’s upcoming June 15 showdown versus former titlist Mairis Briedis as an acceptable voluntary defense, but have since deemed the bout worthy of filling another void.

“Now that Oleksandr Usyk is moving to heavyweight, interim titlist Krysztof Glowacki is officially recognized as the WBO [Cruiserweight] Champion,” Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcárcel, president of the WBO noted while offering clarification on his upcoming first title defense. “The WBO will sanction as a mandatory defense his bout vs. Mairis Briedis on June 15th in Riga, Latvia as part of the World Boxing Super Series.”

The decision was made by the sanctioning body upon a quick scan of its rankings. Former titlist Yunier Dorticos is presently the highest rated contender, but already committed to another fight on that same June 15 WBSS show, as he faces unbeaten Andrew Tabiti. Next in line is Briedis (25-1, 18KOs), who has claimed two wins since a loss to Usyk in the semifinals rounds of season one of the WBSS tournament last January.

Usyk (16-0, 12KOs) went on to claim top honors, collecting all four major titles and the World cruiserweight championship in the process amidst a run universally hailed as 2018 Fighter of the Year.

His 2019 campaign as been one to forget thus far, suffering a biceps injury which canceled his plans for a May 25 heavyweight fight versus Carlos Takam. Meanwhile, all but one sanctioning body—the International Boxing Federation (IBF)—have made his titles available to others.

Earlier this year, the World Boxing Association (WBA) was the first to force Usyk to vacate, doing so in lieu of honoring a mandatory defense versus former titlist Denis Lebedev.

Next came the World Boxing Council (WBC), who named Usyk “Champion in Recess” earlier this week. Their now-vacant title will also be made available for this fight in addition to the WBO strap.

Interestingly, the top two contenders in the WBC are Dorticos and Tabiti. Making the fight a title eliminator would be a moot point, as the semifinals winners will face each other anyway in the tournament finals later this year.

Glowacki (31-1, 19KOs) won his first title in an epic thriller, trading knockdowns with Marco Huck before stopping the long-reigning titlist in the 11th round of their Aug. 2015 war. The bout was universally hailed as high among the best fights of the year, in addition to the feat leaving Huck tied with Johnny Nelson for the most title defenses in divisional history.

Just one successful defense would come of Glowacki’s reign—a 12-round decision over former lineal champ Steve Cunningham in April 2016—before losing the title to Usyk via decision later that September.

Five wins have followed, including a 12-round decision over Maksim Vlasov in their interim title fight last October in Chicago, Ill. The bout came as part of the quarterfinals round of the WBSS season two cruiserweight tournament, on a show which also saw Briedis advance, albeit in far more controversial fashion.

The former titlist was considered fortunate to have escaped with a 12-round decision over Noel Gevor. Despite the uproar, the decision was upheld in marking Briedis’ second win since suffering his lone career defeat which came in a WBSS season one semifinals loss to Usyk last January in his Riga hometown.

The winner of the DAZN-streamed tournament main event will become the third unified titlist at cruiserweights in just 16 months. All three will have been crowned through the WBSS tournament; Usyk unifying the WBO and WBC titles in his win over Brieidis; and Murat Gassiev merging the IBF and WBA titles with a thrilling 12th round knockout of Dorticos last February.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox