Oleksandr Usyk is still expecting to challenge for the heavyweight strap in his next fight.
The former unified cruiserweight champion is the WBO mandatory for Anthony Joshua and is ideally next in line to challenge him for his titles.
However, Joshua and his camp are looking to book a title unification clash with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury instead. The plan is for the fight to take place in May or June with a few hurdles to get past.
One of them is getting permission from the WBO to skip over Usyk which Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn seems confident of doing.
However, Usyk is still planning on fight Joshua and hasn’t given his consent for the latter to face Fury according to his promoter Alexander Krassyuk.
“According to now the deadline is more for Fury and AJ not for Usyk,” Krassyuk told Sky Sports (via Boxing Scene). “There were talks about an interim title or the AJ vs Fury winner relinquishing the WBO title the next day [after they fight].”
“But as for today Usyk is the WBO mandatory and never gave his consent for the [Joshua vs Fury] bout to happen without him. Usyk is in good conditions now, he successfully recovered from his last fight and looks forward to fight challenge the title this spring. A non-title fight has never been under discussion and I really hope it will never be.”
While it’s natural for Usyk to want to fight Joshua next, it’s fair to say majority of the combat sports world would prefer to see the heavyweight titles unified first — especially as for the first time in a while, it looks like it may actually happen.
Then again, this is boxing and plans can go out of the window within an instant.
Who do you think Joshua will face first? Usyk or Fury?