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Anthony Joshua MUST fight Oleksandr Usyk first – Alex Krassyuk

Alexander Usyk Anthony Joshua Derek Chisora

By Kenneth Friedman: Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk insists that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will need to fight him first before he looks to unify against WBC champ Tyson Fury.

Krassyuk points out that Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) has now been the WBO mandatory for 12 months for Joshua, and he wants his mandated title shot. Usyk, 32, doesn’t want to wait.

The former unified cruiserweight champion Usyk’s plan is to fight Joshua and then face WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) for the undisputed Championship in the division.

Usyk is confident that he’ll defeat Joshua when the time comes for them to fight. In the meantime, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk will be facing heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) next, whenever that contest takes place.

The global pandemic has that contest, as well as all boxing, in lockdown. But once the sport restarts, Usyk will be fighting Chisora, and then moving forward to challenge Joshua for his IBF, WBA, and WBO belts.

Joshua will have to fight Usyk FIRST

“The position of Usyk is he is the mandatory, and he was appointed the mandatory when he relinquished his title at cruiserweight as the Super Champion,” said Krassyuk to Seconds Out. “So he’s been the mandatory for a while. In the summer, it’ll have been 12 months already.

“He wants to be the champion, and no one can take this right from him. He’s the spectacular fighter, he’s the Olympic champion, and he’s the former undisputed cruiserweight champion. He has a solid background, and he has enough power to claim his right for the world Champion challenge. We will stand his ground definitely. 

“Most likely, we will push Joshua to fight Usyk first, and then the unification between Fury and Usyk. It’s complicated to say who’s the best. The best is the one who won, but he can lose tomorrow.

“As Vitali Klitschko once said, ‘there is no best fighter in the world. It’s only how good prepared the day of the fight.’ That’s it,” said Krassyuk.

It would be a good idea for Joshua to forget about facing Fury until after he defends his WBO title against Usyk. If Joshua and Fury both win those matches, then they can potentially fight in the second half of 2021.

That would be the ideal situation for both champions. Of course, Usyk could upset those plans, and so could Deontay Wilder. Fury still must beat Wilder in their trilogy contest for him to move forward to face Joshua or Usyk next year.

Joshua will lose WBO title if he doesn’t face Usyk

“Somewhere in the middle or end of July,” said Usyk’s promoter Alex Krassyuk in talking about when they expect the Chisora match to take place. “This is something that can work for both fighters as well as the promotion for this great event.

“If Usyk beats Chisora, and he confirms his position as the mandatory challenger Anthony Joshua, this fight has to take place. In case Anthony doesn’t accept, he relinquishes the title. And if he does accept the fight, then it can happen.

“We cannot predict if it arrives at the end of this year or next year because we can’t predict when the pandemic is going to finish. People say that it might happen in the fall. No one could predict three months ago that it would happen in April or May.

“The only thing I can predict is if the fight takes place in 2021, both fighters are going to get older by one year. The biggest advantage for Usyk and all fighters is they can devote some time for the rehabilitation for the recovery. Normally, they have two to three fights per year,” said Krassyuk.

Joshua wants to keep all of his heavyweight titles. As such, if Usyk insists on getting his mandated title shot at the WBO belt, then Joshua must face him or relinquish the title.

Usyk training for Chisora fight in July

“Twelve months is a short time for the preparation and rehabilitation, and they definitely need some time to recover,” said Krassyuk. “But the tough schedule, very rare, allows us to do it. Now they have some good time to recover physically and spend time with their families. So I think it can work well for every fighter.

“He’s training hard now because he has in his mind July as the optional date for him,” said Krassyuk on Usyk’s training. “If we rely on the experience we had with Tony Bellew, we can say the Chisora fight can be something equal to it.

“So that’s probably the main idea of pay-per-view for Usyk-Chisora,” said Krassyuk in explaining WHY he feels Usyk vs. Chisora is a pay-per-view worthy fight. “Chisora is well known in the UK, and I feel he’s got a lot of fans.

“Usyk fought only once in the professionals, but he gained some respect from UK fans as well. And this is heavyweight. These three factors can work well with pay-per-view, but we didn’t take into consideration the pandemic,” said Krassyuk.

July is a possible date for the Usyk vs. Chisora fight. With the way it’s looking right now, it’s unknown whether that contest will take place in that month. Chisora’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, will need to come up with an alternative plan if large crowds are still not permitted to assemble.

Staging Usyk-Chisora behind closed doors could be an option, as long as Hearn can get the medical staff to be on hand for the event.

Chisora is a big challenge for Usyk

“It might work good or bad. He’s a real heavyweight, he’s strong, and he’s heavy, and he has huge experience in heavyweight boxing,” said Krassyuk when asked when Chisora brings to the table for a pay-per-view opponent for Usyk. “He fought Klitschko; he fought David Haye and almost everyone serious in current heavyweight boxing.

“And he knows how to behave in the ring. So, Chisora, at this stage, is probably the biggest challenge for Usyk in his professional career. The guys in the heavyweight division punch a bit harder than from cruiserweight.

“Before we start talking about Joshua-Fury, we need to realize that this fight is difficult to arrange, first of all,” said Krassyuk when asked about the potential of Kubrat Pulev stepping aside so that Joshua faces Tyson Fury next.

“It might be difficult to make this fight take place, but if it does, it could possibly be the biggest heavyweight event in the century.

“Usyk has no plans on retiring yet, and it’s difficult to make a forecast at this stage. If it happens, let’s see what happens, and if the negotiations end up with an agreement, then we will discuss how we can work it out,” said Krassyuk.

Chisora is too good of a fighter for Usyk to overlook him and assume that he’s going to win with 100 percent certainty. The 36-year-old Chisora is power, and he’s got a ton of experience during his 13-year pro career.

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