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Oleksandr Usyk still planning to enforce mandatory with Anthony Joshua

Oleksandr Usyk has to take care of Derek Chisora, but his shot at the WBO heavyweight title is still in his plans.

Oleksandr Usyk v Chazz Witherspoon Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk stands as the mandatory WBO heavyweight challenger, and while his shot at the belt currently held by Anthony Joshua won’t be next, he’s still looking to cash in.

Plans for a spring bout against veteran Derek Chisora fell through due to coronavirus, but Usyk-Chisora is still the plan, though it has no set date at the moment. If Usyk (17-0, 13 KO) loses to Chisora (32-9, 23 KO), then all his plans are shot, just like we recently saw when Alexander Povetkin upset Dillian Whyte and cost Whyte a guaranteed WBC title shot.

Usyk’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk says the agreement is still “solid,” and that they still plan to enforce the mandatory:

“Our plan is A) beat Derek Chisora, B) push AJ to comply with WBO rules or vacate the title, C) defeat AJ or any other WBO champion or contender and become the heavyweight champion. Simple and practical.”

The 33-year-old Usyk moved up to the heavyweight division last October, beating faded journeyman Chazz Witherspoon via seventh round stoppage. It wasn’t, in all honesty, a “wow” debut in the division for Usyk, but his skills make him a tough matchup on paper for anyone. Chisora figures to be a much stiffer test than Witherspoon, though, whenever it takes place.

As for what comes after that, Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) is set to fight Kubrat Pulev in an IBF mandatory by the end of the year, and while he hopes to then face Tyson Fury in an undisputed title fight, it doesn’t sound like Usyk is really looking to let that happen ahead of his shot at the WBO belt. Joshua could always vacate to face Fury for bigger money, but a big part of the selling point — and getting a deal done with rival promoters and networks for Fury and Joshua — is crowning the first-ever undisputed heavyweight champ of the four-belt era.