EXCLUSIVE: Usyk eyes Ward or heavyweight warm-up after Bellew, not straight to Joshua – Klimas
Aleksandr Usyk won’t go straight into a clash with heavyweight title clash with Anthony Joshua in April despite lining up a battle with the top division king’s stablemate Tony Bellew in 2018.
The first ever World Boxing Super Series trophy winner is locked in substantial talks with Bellew and manager Egis Klimas is hoping a deal can be done soon.
Speaking to WBN earlier this week, Klimas said: “Both promoters K-2 and Eddie Hearn met yesterday to discuss Usyk vs Bellew and I believe the fight will happen.”
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.”
Talk of Joshua has been ongoing since Usyk claimed four world title belts at the lower limit, although Klimas has now stated the 31 year-old will have at least one more fight, possibly two, before seeking out a world title shot in the most lucrative division.
“First of all, it would be our concentration to secure the fight with Bellew and win Bellew, of course,” Klimas exclusively told World Boxing News.
“After that fight, we will be looking for any other interesting fights that can be made at cruiserweight or go to heavyweight without jumping into fighting Anthony Joshua straight away.
“For example, we are hearing Andre Ward wants to come back as cruiserweight and that can be an interesting fight for Aleksandr in the United States.
“If Usyk does decide to move into heavyweight. he will most likely make sure one fight can be made in the heavyweight division before he faces AJ.
“But first things first, let’s make it Usyk vs Bellew,” he added.
Joshua has mandatory defenses to take care of in the meantime, giving Usyk ample opportunity to battle Bellew and Ward before dipping his toes into the 200 pounds plus water.
Due to stipulated challengers lining up, Joshua could be off the table until at least 2020, unless the Londoner decides to fight three times in one year – something not seen since 2016 and potentially unlikely to happen again anytime soon.
The winner of an eliminator between Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury and former opponent Dillian Whyte are set to take up the next two spots in the opposite corner to Joshua – whilst the world waits for a possible clash with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
For Usyk, his triumph in the WBSS has seemingly opened up a mass of doors in both weight classes and should see the pound for pound star in some big match-ups over the next twelve to eighteen months.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay