Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk: Is the superfight in works?
Photo: AFP

Former cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is apparently waiting on IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to confirm the next fight against him.

The WBO had ordered AJ to fight the undefeated Ukraining boxer after his fight against Tyson Fury was scrapped despite being in the works for a few weeks.

WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have agreed to a third heavyweight bout between them. The fight was booked after an arbitrator in the United Kingdom declared that Fury had to fight Wilder before he takes on anyone else.

While Oleksandr Usyk, 34, is more than eager to fight Joshua, the Brit has not released any statement despite the deadline of May 31 gone long.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk wondered if AJ is brave enough to sign on the dotted line.

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“We are waiting for King AJ’s decision whether he is brave enough to get dethroned. I have no idea at the moment. We are expecting his decision. There are no visible obstacles to the deal not to take place,” Krassyuk added.

On the other hand, AJ’s promoter and Matchroom Boxing President, Eddie Hearn, has said that he has a few more fighters under consideration alongside the Ukrainian superstar.

“We have a couple of different options; of course, the one that springs to mind immediately is the WBO mandatory of Oleksandr Usyk. They have been quite patient and I think really, we are in a situation where if Team Fury doesn’t get themselves together, get their act together, by the end of this week, we will have no option but to look for an alternative fight,” Hearn said in a recent statement.

“AJ wants to fight this summer, Oleksandr Usyk is mandatory, we have two or three other options as well.”

Related: Tyson Fury wants to expose ‘fake’ Anthony Joshua in their boxing fight

What if Anthony Joshua vacates the title?

Hearn seems like he has had enough of the whole saga. He has said that the WBO champ might vacate his title because the management is getting tired of doing mandatory defences.

If AJ vacates the title, Usyk is likely to box unbeaten 2016 Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce for the WBO strap. The winner will then take on AJ for a unification fight that is likely to get a lot of hype.

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This scenario suits Usyk the most because a win against Joyce would boost his stature in the boxing community which will ultimately benefit him financially.

But if he enters the ring against the Brit now, he is likely to earn very little money as he’s an underdog between the two.

Dillian Whyte thinks the same. He said AJ would be a firm favourite if the two clash.

“It’s a dead fight. Usyk hasn’t looked good. Who has he fought at heavyweight? Chazz Witherspoon, Derek Chisora. He looked terrible in the fights. He has no punching power,” he said.

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Shayan is a Pakistan-based sports blogger with over three years of experience in journalism and sub-editing of sports-related pieces.

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