11
Aug
2020

Anthony Joshua admits handing Oleksandr Usyk vacant WBO title is likely

Anthony Joshua Oleksandr Usyk

📸 Mark Robinson / Ed Mulholland

Anthony Joshua had admitted for the first time that giving up one of his world titles is a likely scenario at this stage of his career.

Despite regaining four straps from Andy Ruiz Jr. in December, Joshua was ordered to defend TWO versions almost immediately.

Instead of asking for an exception to face IBF stipulation Kubrat Pulev first and then WBO number one Oleksandr Usyk later in the year, Joshua doesn’t want to commit at this point in time.

That’s because AJ is hopeful of landing the winner, or loser for that matter, from the forthcoming Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury rematch.

Wilder and Fury go at it again on February 22nd in Las Vegas. Joshua is preparing a huge offer to whoever shows the most interest in the aftermath.

This means the 30-year-old two-time world heavyweight champion only has time for one mandatory.

Pulev, at this stage, is the preferred option. Usyk is a stablemate of Joshua’s and would benefit from the Londoner dropping the WBO strap, which clearly suits promoter Eddie Hearn and the Ukrainian’s team.

Both sides recently met in the capital of the UK to thrash out the handing over of the belt.


HANDOVER

Joshua has now admitted it’s on the cards.

“The one that I don’t fight (this time), I will fight eventually,” Joshua told Sky Sports at a JD Sports event. “In the heavyweight division, everyone is welcome to challenge so even if it doesn’t happen the first time, one of them will fight me in the future.

“We mean business. We want to fight the best. I go to those meetings. I let people know that I’m about that life.

“He’s the best cruiserweight that we’ve ever seen. I want to compete with him [as he] comes up to heavyweight. People say ‘he’s a cruiserweight’ but look at what Evander Holyfield did – a phenomenal fighter.

“We will end up fighting anyway.

“Who’s to say that Usyk can’t go on to do great things. But before we see that potential he has to come through the big boys of the division. I’ll be the first to challenge him (when he’s champion).

Asked about the possibility of fighting Pulev at Tottenham’s impressive new stadium, Joshua concluded: “Why not. A great opportunity.

“To have the opportunity to go to Tottenham is a blessing. If Tottenham is open, then Tottenham it is.”

Bulgarian Pulev had previously put out a mocked-up poster on social media of the Joshua fight taking place in May at Istanbul’s Vodafone Arena.