Aleksandr Usyk’s former trainer James Ali Bashir has backed the cruiserweight king’s move up to the heavyweight division.
The four-belt title holder and Ali Trophy winner defeated Murat Gassiev, widely recognised as the number two in the division, with ease in Moscow and is now contemplating his next move.
As Usyk considers a first step on the top division ladder against Tony Bellew, Bashir believes nobody in the 200 plus ranks can stop the 31 year-old barring unified ruler Anthony Joshua.
“Usyk will be helped by his IQ and character, he has a strong career in amateurs. He had to meet with various opponents, including those who were higher and who had stronger hands,” Bashir told 112.international regarding Usyk’s plans to jump up in weight.
On any dangers posed, Bashir added: “It would be very difficult to fight against Anthony Joshua. This is the most difficult test, but it seems to me that in a couple of years he will be ready for Joshua as well.
“Joshua is the only boxer in the world whom I consider the favorite in a confrontation with Usyk, while the rest he can win now – both Parker and Wilder,” he said.
Bellew is adamant he could pose an initial test for Usyk whether the fight takes place for the 200 pounds world titles or above, with promoter Eddie Hearn even confirming initial contact has been sent.
There are no real challenges left for Usyk at the lower limit, maybe only a rematch with Mairis Briedis after their close contest in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final, although heavyweight does seem the most sensible way to go.
Money is to be made, especially if a US TV deal can be secured, with the likes of Andre Ward, Wilder and Bellew all suitable candidates for the two-time Olympic gold medallist.