With Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 now set for July 24 in Las Vegas, it appears that Anthony Joshua will return to face his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk in the meantime.
Fury and Joshua appeared to have everything they needed for a four-belt unification superfight this summer which would have crowned the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
However, Wilder's arbitration over his rematch clause, having lost the second encounter with Fury via stoppage in Feb. 2020, was successful, and he will indeed get the chance to regain the WBC title first.
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Usyk was set to face Joe Joyce for an interim WBO title close to AJ vs. Fury, but now the door is open for him to receive his full title opportunity.
Tony Bellew, a former world cruiserweight champion who unsuccessfully challenged then-undisputed 200lbs king Usyk in his final pro fight in November 2018, told Talksport this week of his huge respect for the Ukrainian's skills but that WBA, WBO and IBF champ Joshua is just something else.
“I know exactly how good Usyk is,” Bellew began. “He’s an amazing talent. Best fighter I ever fought. But I don’t believe he’s big enough and dangerous enough to cause AJ problems. Well, he’s big enough to cause him problems. I don’t think he’d last long enough to defeat him. But, he will cause problems while he’s standing and he’s [AJ] going to have to get rid of him. He’ll put the pressure on, make him pay for every single thing he earns in there.
“AJ is the best athletic heavyweight I’ve seen in the last two decades. As an athlete, mate, he’s unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable specimen. He really is. The power he can move at, the speed he can move at, the dexterity; it’s unbelievable. He’s on another level to everybody else. He’s just got to keep improving on that boxing IQ, which he is. He showed that against Andy Ruiz Jr in the rematch. How unbelievable he was.
“In the [Kubrat] Pulev fight, he went back a little bit and showed the old things he was doing and the way he broke down the big men with the speed that counts.