Oleksandr Usyk 'should become' Anthony Joshua's WBO mandatory challenger if he moves to heavyweight
Usyk set to reveal next career move after talks with Eddie Hearn
By Richard Damerell and Michael Bridge
Last Updated: 23/01/19 7:13am
Oleksandr Usyk "should become" automatic WBO mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua if the Ukrainian moves up to heavyweight, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
Britain's unified champion is yet to agree his next title defence, with Dillian Whyte or Jarrell Miller likely opponents for dates in April or May, but Usyk could force his way into Joshua's plans for a fight later in the year.
The undisputed cruiserweight king could be immediately installed as the next challenger for Joshua's WBO belt, despite Whyte's status as the No 1 fighter in their current rankings.
Whyte remains in talks over challenging Joshua for the WBA 'super', IBF and WBO belts at Wembley on April 13, but Hearn warned he could slip out of contention if both fighters are unable to agree terms.
Hearn told Sky Sports: "Under the WBO rules, Usyk, once he steps up - if he steps up - should become that automatic mandatory. I was with the WBO last week in Puerto Rico.
"Dillian is No 1. That won't be called for another month or so, and it's not due until September, October, but Dillian is in the running to be that mandatory, but if you turn down a shot at the world heavyweight title, these don't come around very often.
"I want to make sure that deal is good enough for him to accept, but I also want him to take it, because this is it. This is the world heavyweight championship.
"You've got a chance to fight for it, in your own country, to become the king of the division."
Usyk has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn, who revealed that a fight date is booked for the unbeaten 32-year-old, although he is yet to confirm whether or not it will be a debut in the top division.
Terence Crawford became the mandatory challenger for the WBO welterweight belt when he relinquished all four of his super-lightweight titles to campaign at the higher weight class.