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Oleksandr Usyk: I will fight Anthony Joshua in 2020

Alexander Usyk Anthony Joshua

By Charles Brun:  Oleksandr Usyk is predicting that he will end up facing Anthony Joshua in 2020. He doesn’t say why he thinks the fight will happen this year, but he does state that if someone tries to cheat him, he will fight for his fight.

Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) is the WBO mandatory challenger to WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), and he’s supposed to be getting his mandated title shot this year after AJ defends against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev on June 20.

For Usyk, 33, to be talking about not wanting to be cheated, it suggests that he’s not going to bend over backward and let Joshua fight someone else in December if he can help it. Of course, the World Boxing Organization will likely give Joshua the green light to bypass Usyk if he’s got the chance to face WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder in a unification fight.

If that happens, Usyk will have no choice but to stay active fighting the best available contender. He can always give up the WBO and look to work his way into a mandatory position with the IBF, WBA or WBC, but that could take him a long time.

Usyk views Chisora as a good test

“Because he’s a very strong gentleman, and you can test yourself with that kind of guy,” said Usyk to IFL TV when asked why he’s fighting Chisora. “You don’t drink champagne if you don’t take a risk. We’ll see how good he is in the ring on May 23, and we will see how good I am on May 23.

“It’s very good when people talk a lot about this fight, Fury & AJ, because every time they talk, they mention me as the mandatory challenger,” said Usyk.

There are better heavyweight contenders than Chisora, much better, but he’s someone that is well known with the British boxing fans and affords Usyk a nice payday while he waits for his eventual title shot against WBO champion Wilder.

This is a risky fight for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk because the 245+ lb Chisora will have a likely 30-lb weight advantage over him on May 23. That’s a lot of weight, and Chisora is a big puncher as well. Usyk didn’t look powerful in his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon on October 26, and he ended up getting marked up by the 38-year-0ld former contender.

Although Usyk stopped the out of shape Witherspoon after seven rounds, it was more of a case of the American being too exhausted to continue fighting. Witherspoon looked like he’d just climbed off a couch after years of inactivity, and he wasn’t fit to be fighting a guy at Usyk’s level.

Joshua fight happens this year – Usyk

“I don’t like to guess what’s going to happen in the future because my guess is everything is predefined by the lord, and all we need to do is wait for our time to come. But if someone tries to cheat us, we will fight for our rights. Someone may just try to cheat us. Only lord knows,” said Usyk when asked if the fight with Joshua will take place in 2020 for him. “I think yes [Joshua fight happens in 2020],” said Usyk.

It’s very likely that Usyk WON’T get the Joshua fight this year. The WBO isn’t going to stand in the way of a unification fight between Fury and Joshua. But if they do, then Joshua will likely vacate the WBO belt so he can face Fury in a big-money fight. Usyk is a good fighter, but he doesn’t have the same fan base as Fury.

Usyk not sure why Wilder didn’t look sharp against Fury

“I did watch this fight [Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 2] three times already. I did like the way Fury boxed in that fight. That’s what he promised to do. He promised to box the way he did in the previous fight, and he had a great performance. So did enjoy watching that fight.

“The thing I didn’t realize is why Deontay didn’t look the same way he did in the previous fight is because he wasn’t sharp enough, especially in his movements,” said Usyk.

Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) looked like he made a mistake of bulking up to 230 lbs from the 212 lbs that he weighed for the first fight with Tyson Fury. The 6’7″ Bronze Bomber doesn’t carry the weight well, and this isn’t the first time he’s looked bad after bulking up. When Wilder bulked up to 229 for his fight against Eric Molina in 2015, he had the same problem in looking sluggish.

Oleksandr NOT worried about coronavirus

“I have an old injury and sometimes it hurts, and if I would continue my training camp, that might end up with an injury,” said Usyk. “So we started with an elbow immediately when I felt discomfort. It’s all fine now. I don’t have an injury this time. I only had my old injury.

“The worst thing about the coronavirus is the panic around it,” said Usyk. “If something goes wrong, you cannot influence it. All you can do is live the life you lived and use the spray for your hands. We have big challenges in our lives. People die from other diseases. So this time we have to face coronavirus. Next time we have to face the flu. Anything may happen in our life,” said Usyk.

Usyk doesn’t seem to be worried at all about the coronavirus. He’s going to need to be careful like everyone that he doesn’t come in contact with too many people while training and promoting the May 23 fight against Chisora.

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