The hard hitting Ukrainian wants to move up a division after his title defence against Bellew on 10 November and is eyeing a match with Joshua
Eddie Hearn has confirmed Oleksandr Usyk’s team have their hearts set on a heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua in 2019.
The Ukrainian, who faces Tony Bellew on 10 November in Manchester, has never hidden his ambition of challenging for titles in the top division, though his focus right now is on defending all four of his world cruiserweight belts.
However, the undefeated, undisputed cruiserweight king could get a dream fight against Anthony Joshua next year, according to the Brit’s promoter.
“Basically if Usyk wins [the Bellew] fight, and probably if he loses this fight, he goes to heavyweight straight away,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“That’s [Joshua] the one they want.”
Joshua is scheduled to defend his world titles at Wembley on 13 April, 2019 and, discussing a possible timescale for a fight with Usyk, Hearn said: “Joshua will only fight twice next year, so it will be the one after.
“It won’t be the first one, because I think Usyk will want to fight at heavyweight first. There are loads of fights out there for him.”
Options for Joshua in April include Deontay Wilder, who is putting his WBC belt on the line against Tyson Fury on 1 December, as well as Dillian Whyte, who fights Dereck Chisora on 22 December.
The heavyweight champion, though, has a lot of time for Usyk, though is hoping to see Bellew land one of his ‘dirty left hooks’ on the Ukrainian.
“Usyk is really like a perfect boxer,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “I hope Bellew is working on his counter punches as well, because that’s the way to knock him out I think.
“Let him tippy tap, and get in his rhythm, and then just kind of explode. As we’ve seen, Bellew can counter punch, and he’s got a dirty left hook on him.
“If he can land that, I think he’ll do well.”
Usyk is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers and it is even said Wladimir Klitschko threw him out of the ring during a sparring session once because he was too much of a handful.
Bellew is the underdog and understands why.
“He is the most formidable cruiserweight that we have personally ever seen, barring Evander Holyfield,” he said.
“I think he’s the most formidable fighter, one of them on the planet. And I just want to know if I can beat him. I think I can.
I just genuinely believe I am going to get him – I just see I am going to get to him at some stage.
“But he is brilliant, he is fantastic. I have no bad things to say about him. Fantastic fighter, bit of screw loose, bit of an odd job but so am I.”