Anthony Joshua the ultimate target after Tony Bellew, reveals Oleksandr Usyk's promoter
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 29/08/18 12:28pm
Oleksandr Usyk's promoter believes "the boxing world would desire" a fight against Anthony Joshua.
Usyk initially challenged Tony Bellew moments after a sensational performance won him the World Boxing Super Series and all four world cruiserweight titles this month, against Murat Gassiev.
Negotiations to pit Usyk against Bellew have started but it has now emerged that the Ukrainian pound-for-pound star's ultimate target is in the division above, against Joshua.
The boxing world would desire the clash of two Olympic champs and two [future] undisputed professionals.
Oleksandr Usyk's promoter
"The boxing world would desire the clash of two Olympic champs and two [future] undisputed professionals," Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk, of K2 Ukraine, exclusively told Sky Sports.
Usyk won gold at the Olympics six years ago at heavyweight (essentially cruiserweight as a professional), in the same Games that saw Joshua win the top prize at super-heavyweight.
Joshua and Usyk have since racked up a combined 36 professional wins, no defeats, and seven world titles.
"Joshua is the cyborg fighter," Krassyuk said. "He knocked out legendary Wladimir Klitschko having recovered after the severe knock-down.
"Anthony is the Olympic champion of London 2012, Usyk keeps the same title but in the lower division. I believe Joshua has all chances to become undisputed in the heavyweights."
Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Alexander Povetkin on September 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and hopes to lure WBC champion Deontay Wilder to Wembley on April 13.
Promoter Eddie Hearn knows that Usyk wants to beat Bellew then move onto challenging Joshua. He told Sky Sports last week: "Usyk is looking to move up to heavyweight eventually. They want Joshua, and this is their path to it.
"They see everyone as a stepping stone to Joshua."
In the meantime, both promoters confirmed that talks are underway to agree Usyk against former WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew.
Hearn said: "Bellew called me 20 minutes after [Usyk's] fight and said: 'I'll knock him out'.
"I told Usyk's team that a fight would have to be [at heavyweight] because that's where Tony is now, and he feels good.
"Tony told me: 'I want to fight him at cruiserweight because I want all the belts'.
"If he's going into a fight as risky as Usyk, he wants the biggest reward possible which is to be the undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
"People believe Usyk is pound-for-pound No1, certainly in the top three. So if Bellew beats him, what does that make Bellew? That's the madness of this.
"There is a very good chance of this fight happening. My job is to make it, because Bellew has asked me to."
Usyk's promoter Krassyuk continued: "We are in touch with Eddie now discussing the terms. We have the same goal delivering most expected fights for the boxing fans and I suggest Usyk vs Bellew is the one. We will meet soon and find the way to make it happen.
"I would prefer Usyk debuting in the heavyweights. But he is an undisputed [champion] in the cruisers so it is likely that fight might happen in cruiserweight division.
"Usyk wants the fight. I have a lot of respect for Tony, he is a brave and determined fighter who proved his skills and character in the last couple of fights. Bellew is an emeritus WBC champ, Usyk holds the regular WBC title. This fight should definitely take place."
Usyk told Sky Sports in January: "I will move up to heavyweight and show them all how good I am. I think you can see yourself, I will fight [Joshua]."