Anthony Joshua poised to sign Usyk contract this week for September fight
Anthony Joshua is set to officially sign to fight former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk this week, with a bout between the two men currently expected to take place in London and slated for September this year.
Following the collapse in talks between AJ and fellow heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Joshua was ordered to face Usyk, who is the current mandatory challenger for the WBO heavyweight title.
Eddie Hearn is currently leading talks between the two former Olympic gold medallists.
And the Chairman of Matchroom Sport told DAZN that the contracts for the contest could be signed within the next few days.
“I can tell you that this week, that this is a more confident footing than the Joshua – Fury negotiations, because I know [Usyk’s promoter] Alex Krassyuk very well, and I know Usyk very well.
“This week that fight will be signed. We’re looking at September in London. Just finalising the details.
"It’s a great fight, a dangerous fight, it's not the one we necessarily wanted or expected. But it’s a high-level heavyweight fight.
"It's a unified heavyweight champion against the undisputed cruiserweight champion, and on we go with that fight – it’s a big event.”
Usyk will arguably be Joshua’s toughest test to date. The Ukranian is a genuine pound-for-pound talent, with an excellent record that boasts wins over the likes of Murat Gassiev, Mairis Breidis and, of course, Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora.
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While he will be at a size disadvantage, Usyk is an immaculate defensive boxer who is comfortable fighting on both the front and backfoot and is, without doubt, the most technically polished boxer Joshua will have faced to date.
This is certainly not an easy fight for AJ and is far from a mere stepping-stone towards an all-British unification bout with Fury.
With that being said, Joshua will still be the favourite going into the bout after his solid last outing against Kubrat Pulev and will boast a significant size and power advantage against Usyk.
Provided Joshua wins, he will likely face the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III, currently slated for August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
Win that, and Joshua will become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, joining the likes of Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and Joe Louis.
Lose, and who knows what’ll come next.
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