Boxers, Trainers & Pundits
Joshua vs Pulev: Anthony Joshua has targeted Tyson Fury but will Oleksandr Usyk be next?
Oleksandr Usyk could be lying in wait if Anthony Joshua successfully defends his world heavyweight titles in Saturday's fight against Kubrat Pulev, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Last Updated: 09/12/20 1:29pm
Anthony Joshua is targeting Tyson Fury, but does Oleksandr Usyk represent a real threat to plans for an undisputed world title fight? The Panel deliver their verdict...
Joshua defends his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and victory keeps him on course for a massive clash with WBC champion Tyson Fury in the New Year.
But Usyk could enforce a WBO mandatory title shot at Joshua, while Fury has been locked in a dispute with Deontay Wilder over a third fight.
The Panel of experts have given their opinions on Joshua's likely next career move...
It all depends on how much Oleksandr Usyk pushes for that fight. It's not a bad fight, and it's a fight that I want to see, but obviously the big one is AJ-Fury.
As a boxing fan, I want to see Fury in the ring with Joshua, and I want to see who the best heavyweight in the world is.
I don't think Usyk is big enough for AJ. I think he's good enough and he's definitely talented enough, but he's not a natural fully-fledged heavyweight. I wasn't that impressed with the way in which he beat Chisora. I said it on the night.
AJ might fancy it, rather than take the Fury fight next, and maybe build up to the Fury fight even more. But as a boxing fan, I want to see Fury in the ring with Joshua, and I want to see who the best heavyweight in the world is.
I think the chances of Usyk fighting Joshua next are slim.
Purely from a business side, I can see AJ saying, "No I don't need that, this is a bigger fight." If the Tyson Fury fight is in touching distance, and it's either Fury or Usyk, then the business decision would be to give the WBO belt up.
I think the chances of Usyk fighting Joshua next are slim. Usyk brings the unknown. We've only seen him in two heavyweight fights and the questions are still there. This guy technically is on point, but he looks small, he looks like he can be manhandled by the heavyweights. You can only outbox someone so much.
Usyk has shown good versatility, but he has just not shown dominance, because he should have made an easier job of Derek Chisora, in all honesty. I think he knew that as well.
I think the No 1 priority will be to make the Tyson Fury fight, but there are a few potential obstacles. What's going to happen with Deontay Wilder, is that all sorted out? Do Fury and Wilder end up doing the trilogy in the first part of the year?
Everyone's top target will be at least to explore the Fury fight, and try to make that happen next.
If they do, then I think the Usyk fight will definitely happen as Joshua won't sit around and wait.
All going well on Saturday night, everyone's top target will be at least to explore the Fury fight, and try to make that happen next.
I've spoken to Usyk's manager when he was here last time. He's not one for stepping aside, that's for sure. I think he wants to fight for that title. If that's the case and Usyk digs his heels in, then Joshua will have to vacate the WBO belt, or defend it against Usyk.
Nobody can say they're better than anybody until they face them.
Usyk is a serious threat. He's got some very good attributes and he's definitely up there. Is he better than all the top heavyweights? I can't tell you that. Nobody can say they're better than anybody until they face them. But he's right up there in the top five.
I think he probably will end up fighting Usyk next, because Fury might well get forced into fighting Wilder. I have no idea what the contracts are, but they [Wilder's team] seem to think that's got to happen.
It smells a bit like it's going to be Usyk next, and I do think he's definitely a danger.
The WBO have been saying for a long time that they are going to enforce the mandatory, although if there was a chance of making that unification, you'd imagine they would want their belt in it.
But it smells a bit like it's going to be Usyk next, and I do think he's definitely a danger. On the basis of how he boxed against Chisora, I would say that Joshua would beat him, but you would imagine that he'll be better. That is a hard fight.
I think we'll see Fury in a trilogy fight with Wilder in January and if that does go ahead, I see the Joshua-Fury happening in May.
If AJ comes through against Pulev, then Usyk is a possibility, but I do think we'll see Joshua-Fury in the spring.
I know Usyk is standing in the way, but I believe they'll still want to make that Joshua-Fury fight. If that means giving up the WBO title, then that's probably what Joshua will do, just to get that fight on.
If AJ comes through against Pulev, then Usyk is a possibility, but I do think we'll see Joshua-Fury in the spring. Both guys want it so much and it's been a long time coming.