Former undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk will take his shot at true heavyweight glory on Sept. 25, faciing WBA/IBF/WBO titleholder Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) in a DAZN main event from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.
Usyk promoter Alex Krassyuk says that there is a rematch clause, which wasn’t necessary since Usyk is Joshua’s WBO mandatory challenger, but the Joshua side wanted it and they agreed to make that happen.
“The rematch is something that is not obligatory in the mandatory fight. But we accepted the very fair conditions to agree to it,” Krassyuk told mybettingsites. “Usyk is very confident in his victory over AJ and easily agreed for the second bout because his mindset will be even more favorable after he wins first.”
Usyk (18-0, 13 KO) is, of course, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world, and the fact that he’s 6’3” and about 215-220 lbs does give him some doubters in today’s heavyweight division, particularly at this top level.
But Krassyuk feels Usyk has all that is necessary, and can succeed in this fight and beyond.
“For those who do not see the clear reality that Usyk is a heavyweight, Usyk is the same size, weight, reach as his idol, Muhammad Ali,” Krassyuk said. “Can anyone of those say Ali was not a true heavyweight?”
Of course, Ali wasn’t fighting many guys with the size of Anthony Joshua (6’6”, 240 lbs or so) combined with the fact that Joshua is a good athlete and an Olympic gold medalist himself, not just some lumbering oaf.
But as Krassyuk also points out, Usyk had done all there was to do at cruiserweight, and the only step to make was taking the shot at heavyweight. And to take the shot for real, it’s Joshua and Tyson Fury at the top, so Usyk was always going to give up some physical advantages.
There’s also no “bad blood” being sold in this fight, it is simply a competition between two top fighters, looking to see who’s better.
“For AJ I wish only the best, I wish him a wonderful training camp with no injuries or any other troubles,” Krassyuk said. “I respect him so much for his achievements in boxing, for his humble behavior, being such a massive star, for his bright personality. Let the best man win and we will do it again in the rematch.”