Hearn: "The big problem there is that Usyk must fight the winner of Pulev against Anthony Joshua."
Friday 6 March 2020 09:31, UK
Anthony Joshua’s world title plans could still be dictated by WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk, unless Derek Chisora overcomes the Ukrainian, says Eddie Hearn.
Unified champion Joshua has confirmed his next fight against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office, but Britain's heavyweight star has also been ordered to face Usyk.
Positive talks have already taken place for an undisputed world heavyweight title fight between Joshua and Tyson Fury later this year, although Usyk would remain in a strong bargaining position if he wins an expected fight with Chisora.
Asked whether Usyk might have to wait until 2021 for a world title fight, promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports: "Well, only if Usyk says so.
"The big problem there is that Usyk must fight the winner of Pulev against Anthony Joshua. The only way he mustn't is if he waits maybe a month, or maybe there's an agreement to vacate after. I don't know, but sometimes things like that are solvable.
"He's got a little task ahead of him on May 23. He might not be mandatory challenger on May 24, if Derek Chisora has got anything to say about it. That is a monstrous fight at The O2 Arena. We'll announce next week in full."
Joshua has been studying the southpaw skills of Usyk, a fellow Olympic gold medallist, who moved up a division after becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion.
"I've actually been preparing for a southpaw, because some time down the line, I know I'll fight Usyk anyway, so the smart thing to do would be to start preparing, start sharpening my tools," Joshua told Sky Sports.
"That's the brilliant thing now. I know I'm fighting, like two to three times a year, so it gives me enough time to actually practice and start working on certain aspects."