Cruiserweight king Aleksandr Usyk is likely to face Tony Bellew next following a meeting between the two teams this week, manager Egis Klimas has informed WBN.
Talks have been ongoing since Usyk defeated Murat Gassiev to unify the division and lift the Ali Trophy at last month’s World Boxing Super Series final, with Klimas believing a deal is imminent.
“Both promoters K-2 and Eddie Hearn met yesterday to discuss Usyk vs Bellew and I believe the fight will happen,” Klimas exclusively told World Boxing News.
Asked whether the contest would take place in November on UK soil, Klimas added: “We don’t know yet. We are still discussing details of the date and venue.”
Despite revealing his desire to move up in weight, Usyk is unlikely to go the heavyweight route yet as Bellew is currently WBC Emeritus cruiserweight champion and is entitled to a shot at his old green belt whenever he chooses.
This means the pair could battle it out for, not only the WBC but the WBA, IBF and WBO belts initially – but dependent on the result – would then be able to have a rematch above 200 pounds.
Despite being ranked inside the WBC top ten in the most lucrative of divisions, Bellew would begin a huge underdog against Usyk – who is tipped to give even Anthony Joshua a run for his money if the two-time Olympic champion can put together an undefeated heavyweight run over the next eighteen months.
A win for Usyk could even put him in contention to face Joshua at Wembley in April, although Dillian Whyte remains the firm favorite should he come through a ring return later in the year.
Whatever the outcome, the cruiserweight straps are expected to be vacated by the end of the year for a host of contenders to fight it out for.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay