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Oleksandr Usyk fully intending to force mandatory shot at Anthony Joshua

The former cruiserweight champion isn’t looking to step aside for a possible undisputed clash between AJ and Tyson Fury.

Oleksandr Usyk and Derek Chisora Press Conference Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Though many out there would of course love to see a potential undisputed heavyweight championship fight between WBC (and LINEAL!!!!!!!!) titleholder Tyson Fury and WBA/IBF/WBO titleholder Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk has no plans to step aside from his mandatory WBO title shot.

Usyk (17-0, 13 KO) will first have to get past Derek Chisora on May 23, which will be the former cruiserweight king’s first real test in the heavyweight division. But assuming he does that, and Joshua beats Kubrat Pulev (the IBF mandatory) on June 20, Usyk and his team have every intention of forcing his shot next.

Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas told Sky Sports, “I believe Anthony also wants this fight. Good fighters want to fight good fighters. Anthony sees a good challenge in Oleksandr and wants to go there. Everybody says Oleksandr will give Anthony problems, but Anthony believes the opposite so wants to show that he is stronger.”

Klimas believes the fight should take place in the United Kingdom, where Joshua is a major star and Usyk is well-known and fully respected already thanks to his 2018 win over Tony Bellew in Manchester.

Usyk and his team have been pretty consistent about this. Once they announced the move up from cruiserweight was officially happening, the WBO made the Ukrainian the heavyweight mandatory challenger, and they’ve said all along they weren’t going to wait around a long time to enforce the shot. Usyk fought a toe-dipper fight with Chazz Witherspoon last year, and they clearly see Chisora (32-9, 23 KO) as the final step toward the title fight.

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