Oleksandr Usyk would like to fight Deontay Wilder
By Sean Jones: Oleksandr Usyk says Deontay Wilder is one of the fighters in the heavyweight division he would like to fight. It would be a risky fight or the unbeaten Usyk, who didn’t look impressive in defeating fringe heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora on October 31st in London, UK.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) is in a holding pattern, waiting to see if he’ll get his title shot against WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in early 2021.
As the WBO mandatory, Usyk and his manager have made it known that they won’t step aside to let Joshua face WBC champ Tyson Fury for the undisputed championship.
Unless they want to pay Usyk a step aside fee, he wants his mandated title shot that he’s been waiting for since 2018.
Usyk would be happy to face Wilder
“There are a lot of guys who I would like to fight and would be happy to fight, like Deontay Wilder,” said Usyk to The Sun.
Wilder’s one-punch power would make it difficult for Usyk to beat him, as he’s shown that he can be hit since moving up in weight. In Usyk’s fights at heavyweight against Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora, he was tagged a lot.
Usyk might do well against Wilder for four or five rounds the way Luis Ortiz did, but then get caught and knocked cold.
Although Usyk won both fights, he was badly marked up in both fights. It was the same situation for Usyk when he fought a young Joe Joyce in the World Series of Boxing seven years ago in 2013. Usyk was hit a lot in that five-round fight, and his face was reddened and swollen at the end of the contest.
We don’t know how interested Usyk is in facing the 6’7″ former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs). Was Usyk making an off the cuff comment during an interview, or is he seriously interested in facing Wilder?
Usyk will be turning 34 next month on January 17th, and he doesn’t have a lot of time left for him to make something happen in the division.
He looks too light for the heavyweight division at 218 lbs, and he’s failed to impress in his two fights since moving up in weight in 2019.
Oleksander may need to step aside for Joshua – Fury
Last year, Usyk vacated his four cruiserweight titles and moved up to heavyweight against 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon.
The WBO immediately made Usyk mandatory for heavyweight champion Joshua, and he’s been waiting ever since for his title shot.
You can argue that Usyk should be fighting at the World Boxing Council’s new ‘Bridgerweight division,’ which has a weight limit of 224 lbs.
However, the money that Usyk would make against the little known fighters in that weight class would be significantly less than the massive payday he’ll get in challenging WBO heavyweight champion Joshua for his strap.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said last week that AJ may vacate the WBO title. Additionally, Joshua told Sky Sports News this week that he would vacate his WBO title rather than face Usyk.
Usyk not in a strong position
Joshua says it won’t be a problem for him to immediately fight for his vacated World Boxing Organization title against whoever emerges as the winner of the title. But first, Joshua needs to beat Fury, which won’t be the easiest thing for him to do.
Usyk has little choice but to step aside and let the Joshua vs. Fury fight take place if he wants to fight the winner for the WBO title.
If Usyk insists on fighting for the WBO belt in early 2021, Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) will vacate the title. That means Usyk would need to face Joe Joyce for the vacant WBO belt, which could prove to be a difficult fight for him.
Joyce has improved since his loss to Usyk seven years ago, and he’s gotten a lot bigger. In other words, it’s not a certainty that Usyk beats Joyce again.
If Usyk loses to Joyce, his chance for a massive payday fight against Joshua or Fury will go down the drain. Usyk should let Joshua and Fury fight twice in 2021; he can face the winner in 2022.
The only problem with that is that Usyk would need to stay active in 2021 and fight at least once if not twice against one of the top heavyweights.
Usyk’s controversial win over firing contender Chisora last October showed that he couldn’t be trusted to beat a top 15 contender due to his lack of size and power.
If Usyk fights once or twice in 2021, he’ll be risking his WBO mandatory position each time, and he could lose that spot if he’s beaten.
Oleksandr wants to battle for the WBO title in the UK
“As for me, I don’t care where the fight takes place, I will put up a show wherever,” said Usyk about him fighting WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“However, I think Britain would be really cool because they are really great fans and really nice people,” added Usyk.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn will want to stage a fight between him and Usyk wherever the match makes the most money.
Hearn isn’t going to stage any of AJ’s fights in a location where it makes less money, which makes it unlikely we’ll see any of his fights in the UK moving forward unless he’s beaten by Fury and his popularity nosedives.
If Usyk challenges Fury for the WBO spot in 2022, he would likely need to come over to the United States to face him. Fury has been fighting in the U.S in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he’ll likely continue fighting there once the pandemic is over.
It’s nice that Usyk wants to fight in the UK, but his chances of facing Joshua there are slim.
Rather than Usyk making a big deal about fighting in the UK, he should be hoping that Joshua holds onto his WBO title next year. The money that Usyk can make fighting Joshua is likely more than he’ll get facing Fury.
More Boxing News:
- Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury planned for June
- Oleksandr Usyk and Joe Joyce close to a deal for interim WBO title
- DiBella picks Tyson Fury over Anthony Joshua in competitive fight
- Bob Arum says Joshua vs. Fury contract exchanges to begin this week