Olekandr Usyk is closing in on a world heavyweight title fight against Anthony Joshua with only “small issues” now being ironed out by the two camps.
The former cruiserweight king (18-0) has been mandatory challenger for the WBO title held by AJ since stepping up to boxing’s marquee weight class in 2019.
He was distinctly unimpressed when the WBO was set to allow Joshua to fight Tyson Fury instead. But when that unification match fell through, with Fury now forced to meet Deontay Wilder, Joshua vs Usyk was suddenly right back centre stage.
Joshua vs Usyk talks going well
The WBO gave Eddie Hearn and Matchroom a 10-day window from May 21 to finalise a title defence for Joshua against Usyk, or have the fight go to purse bids. It appears the latter option will not be needed.
Alex Krassyuk, General Director of K2 Promotions, told Furyjoshua.com: “Everything goes pretty well. We are finalizing some small issues and will probably move to the paperwork”.
Usyk has had two fights at heavyweight since moving up – an easy success against Chazz Witherspoon in 2019 and a much tougher assignment against Dereck Chisora in October 2020. Usyk prevailed by unanimous decision there.
Usyk has undisputed dream
The Ukrainian superstar has long stated his aim to unify all the belts at heavyweight after doing just that at cruiser.
Now, thanks to the unexpected arbitration ruling which scuppered Fury vs Joshua, he is on a fast track to that goal. A win over AJ would give him the IBF, WBA and WBO belts with the potential prospect of meeting the winner of Fury vs Wilder 3 for the WBC strap as well. That trilogy fight is now due to take place in Las Vegas on Saturday July 24.
The dates mooted for Joshua vs Usyk are Saturday August 21 or Saturday August 28. Both would mean Joshua’s trainer Robert McCracken should be back back from the Tokyo Olympics and ready to head up his corner.