Tuesday 13 November 2018 09:30, UK
Anthony Joshua is "intrigued" by Oleksandr Usyk and a "monster" fight appears inevitable once the Ukrainian steps up to heavyweight, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
The unified champion watched Usyk's knockout win over Tony Bellew at the weekend, with the Ukrainian's manager Egis Klimas admitting afterwards that the 31-year-old wants to "fight the best" in the top division.
Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn believes Usyk needs a couple of fights to adjust to the higher weight class, but expects Joshua to welcome a showdown with a fellow 2012 Olympic gold medallist.
"I think he's intrigued by Usyk," Hearn exclusively told Sky Sports. "I think he would like to fight Usyk, I think he would like to fight everybody who he views as a top-level fighter.
"The challenge for Usyk is the size. It's going to be very difficult for anybody to out-skill him, but [Evander] Holyfield did it, but he did it actually with toughness, which is even harder than to do it with skill.
"But I think if Usyk shows what he will show at heavyweight, and if he puts himself in a position, AJ will have no problem fighting him.
"That could end up being a huge, huge fight, but I think Usyk in the post-fight interview was very sensible, and said this division is not a joke.
"I'm not just diving in, I need to make sure that I prepare properly for challenges like that. I see him having two fights probably before he's ready for Joshua at heavyweight."
Hearn admits a fight against Deontay Wilder is the top priority for Joshua's next title defence at Wembley on April 13, although Usyk could enter his plans for next year, if that blockbuster bout for all the world heavyweight belts cannot be staged on that date.
"It depends on the Wilder fight really," he said. "I think if the Wilder fight doesn't happen, then we could go [Dillian] Whyte, if he beats [Dereck] Chisora, and then Usyk after that, but a lot depends on what Usyk wants to do, and whether he feels like he's ready.
"I think the AJ fight is a very, very, very tough fight for Usyk. AJ is very fast, and he's very mobile, and I think Usyk will do better against slower heavyweights, who aren't as mobile. But it's going to end up being a monster fight at some point."