While most heavyweight fans want to see Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua next year, UFC superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov would love ‘The Gypsy King’ to face Oleksandr Usyk instead.
Khabib retired from the Octagon on Saturday night after defeating Justin Gaethje with a second-round stoppage. The Russian improved to 29-0 and was hailed as the ‘GOAT’ by UFC boss Dana White.
Before the bout in Abu Dhabi, he had spoken to reporters about the stage of boxing – including the booming heavyweight division.
Usyk one of a kind
Khabib in particular sees Usyk (17-0) as one of a kind in the fight game’s marquee weight class. And he would love to see the Ukrainian former cruiserweight king take on Fury.
He said: “Right now, I think three guys. Oleksandr Usyk, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Canelo Alvarez. Oh sorry, Tyson Fury too. Four guys. It’s very hard [to decide] who is the best.
“I really want to see Usyk vs Fury. It’s gonna be a very good fight. He [Usyk] has very good skill and technique, Tyson Fury too.
“He is not like other Heavyweights, more technique, his footwork is very good, his conditioning is very good, I really wanna watch Usyk against Fury.”
Usyk of course is the mandatory contender for the WBO world heavyweight title held by Anthony Joshua. And he puts that status on the line against Dereck Chisora at London’s SSE Arena on Saturday night.
Should he come out victorious, he expects an immediate shot at AJ’s belt. That would leave Joshua to decide whether to accept the challenge or vacate his belt and move on to a showdown with Fury.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said that AJ dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion. But he also said losing one of the belts would not stop Fury vs Joshua happening.
Usyk’s co-promoter Alex Krassyuk meanwhile exclusively told Furyjoshua.com that he would advise his man not to step aside to allow Fury vs Joshua.
He said: “Disputing the world title in the heavyweight division is not a matter of money – it is a matter of heritage. Money may run out some day, but the championship will stay forever.
“In 20 years he will tell his grandchildren about his career, and he would not feel comfortable telling them he stepped aside for money instead of insisting on challenging for the title.”
Usyk vs Chisora will air live on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view (£19.95) in the UK, and on DAZN in the United States.
DAZN will also stream the bout in Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland.