Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury? Oleksandr Usyk plans to enforce his right to be Joshua's next opponent
"Though everyone wants to see AJ fighting Fury I don't feel this fight is likely to happen soon," Oleksandr Usyk's co-promoter exclusively tells Sky Sports; Usyk is Anthony Joshua's mandatory challenger so could impose his status to delay the undisputed title fight with Tyson Fury
Last Updated: 14/12/20 1:01pm
Anthony Joshua's next opponent could be Oleksandr Usyk, not Tyson Fury, because the Ukrainian is already trying to enforce his right to a mandatory fight.
IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua and WBC title holder Fury seem to be on a collision course to decide an undisputed heavyweight champion but Usyk, one of the major roadblocks to this dream occasion, is adamant that he will not step aside.
WBO president Paco Valcarcel boosted his mandatory challenger Usyk's hopes on Saturday night, moments after Joshua defeated Kubrat Pulev, by tweeting: "[Promoter] Eddie Hearn knows the meaning of commitment.
"The ball is in Hearn's court."
Usyk's co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk, who works alongside Hearn, exclusively told Sky Sports: "My prediction, my plan and our strategy is to make AJ vs Usyk in April or May 2021.
"This is the WBO who has the power to enforce the champion for the mandatory.
"Though everyone wants to see AJ fighting Fury I don't feel this fight is likely to happen soon."
On Joshua's knockout of Pulev, Krassyuk added: "I did not discuss AJ's performance with Usyk yet but must admit AJ looked quite convincing."
The WBO's stance would seemingly leave Joshua with two choices - defend his title against Usyk next or vacate it to move straight into a fight with Fury.
A further complication to the undisputed title fight is Fury's situation regarding a third fight with Deontay Wilder.
Fury shelved the planned trilogy this month but has since been forced to enter a mediation process because Wilder is keen to agree terms to share the ring again.
The WBC told Sky Sports that they would give their "full support" to a third Fury vs Wilder fight in 2021.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said: "Wilder is a tremendous, important element. He was five years champion of the WBC. Extremely loyal.
"The greatest knockout ratio. The percentage is unbelievable and he is a very dear fighter, a champion in the WBC and he deserves, of course, another opportunity.
"He gave Tyson Fury the opportunity and Tyson Fury beat him, knocked him out, and, of course, Wilder is in the mix.
"He deserves an opportunity and we will see how things evolve in the coming year.
"We're just hoping that everything gets resolved and everybody is happy and we see great fights inside the ring."
Will Joshua fight Fury in 2021?
Joshua told Sky Sports after dispatching Pulev: "I started this game in 2013. I've been chasing all the belts. I've been dealing with mandatories.
"Of course I want the challenge. It's not about the opponent, it's about the legacy and the belt. Whoever has got the belt, I would love to compete with them. If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury. It's no big deal.
"It's one fight at a time, picking them off one by one. That's all it's about for me. I've got to stay focused."
Joshua's promoter Hearn added: "There's been a lot of talk. As he said, it's less talk, more action. Since he came into the office, he wanted to be the undisputed champion of the world.
"We're going to be friendly, we're going to be nice. We know what we have to do. Starting from [Sunday], we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away.
"It's the only fight to be made in boxing. It's the biggest fight in boxing. It's the biggest fight in British boxing history.
"I know he [Joshua] wants it. He is the best heavyweight in the world, I promise you. He'll break him down, he'll knock him out, but for me, less talk, more action.
"We know what we want to do. It's about legacy and we will get it done."
Fury hit out at Joshua: "He got asked if he wants the fight and he went around the bushes.
"I want the fight. I want the fight next. I will knock him out inside three rounds!"
Fury's US-based promoter, Top Rank's Bob Arum, said: "It looks like the stage is set for the biggest heavyweight championship fight since Ali-Frazier in 1971, when Fury meets Joshua for the undisputed crown.
"We at Top Rank will start on Monday working to put that fight together."