Oleksandr Usyk is ready to wreck the chances of Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua happening any time soon, according to his co-promoter Alex Krassyuk.
Usyk (17-0) is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO world heavyweight title. And Krassyuk says he expects an immediate title shot if he overcomes Dereck Chisora (32-9) on Saturday October 31 (live on Sky Sports pay-per-view and DAZN).
That means Joshua has a major decision to make if he overcomes Kubrat Pulev on December 12.
Does he defend his belts against Usyk? Or does he instead vacate the WBO title to pursue that mammoth showdown with Fury.
The latter of course would mean a Fury vs Joshua showdown would no longer be for the undisputed heavyweight title. And that has always been a major career goal for AJ.
AJ vs Fury not likely to happen soon
Krassyuk told Furyjoshua.com: “My position is very clear and grounded. Usyk is the WBO mandatory. We waited for Joshua to fight Pulev only on the condition that AJ faces Usyk next. Otherwise he would have to relinquish the WBO title.
“And my personal hunch says AJ vs Fury is not very likely to happen soon. I think Deontay Wilder can also add some confusion into this ‘architecture’.”
As ever in situations like these, there has been speculation as to whether Usyk might be persuaded to accept “step-aside money”. That of course would allow Joshua and Fury to meet. But Krassyuk’s response to the notion suggests it is highly unlikely to happen.
He explained: “The final decision always belongs to the fighter, but I will never advise him to take money to step aside. And I can explain to you why.
“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.”
Chisora a real threat
Before Usyk can focus on Joshua, he must safely negotiate the big clash with Chisora on Saturday week.
Krassyuk knows it will be no cakewalk, reasoning: “Chisora is physically strong, mentally mature and has huge experience in the heavyweight division. I am sure he has prepared some tricks specially for Usyk.
“This man can punch, he has explosive power and Usyk has to be very cautious. However, Alex’s footwork, his boxing IQ and addiction to the fight plan should deliver him success in this fight.”
Usyk vs Chisora kicks off a stacked heavyweight schedule in the final three months of 2020. As well as Joshua vs Pulev, it also includes the rematch between Alexander Povetkin vs Dillian Whyte and the exciting domestic showdown between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce.
Fury meanwhile is also set to be in action, when he makes his UK homecoming on December 5. The frontrunners to face him right now are Frenchman Carlos Takam (39-5-1) and German Agit Kabayel (20-0).