Three-belt heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has made it clear that he's not returning until sometime in 2023. The guy standing across the ring from him is the mystery.
After beating Anthony Joshua in August, it was expected that Usyk would go into an undisputed title fight against WBC titlist Tyson Fury. However, Fury wanted the battle to occur at the end of 2022. The timeframe didn't match Usyk's as he wanted to rest, spend time with his family and heal some injuries. Fury has moved on to attempt to make a fight with Joshua.
Recently, Usyk made it clear that he will be heading to the United States on Oct. 15 to watch the return of Deontay Wilder as he squares off with Robert Helenius. Usyk told Ring.TV he'd like to face the former WBC champion if he gets past Helenius. Of course, hearing those comments were music to Wilder's ears. However, if the "Bronze Bomber" makes a triumphant return to action, he expects Usyk to stay true to his proclamation.
"I heard about the Usyk situation, and he's going to be there," Wilder said to Sky Sports. "I hold Usyk to be a man of his word.
"If Usyk's saying he wants to give me an opportunity for the titles, then that's what I'm holding his word to. I always tell people that I don't look past fighters, but I do look through them; there's nothing wrong with that, being confident in yourself and looking ahead once this chapter is closed."
Wilder looks to rebound after coming off back-to-back losses to Fury. It's the first time he'll compete in a little over a year. The 36-year-old knows that Usyk being there is a moot point if he doesn't beat Helenius.
"I've got to handle business at the end of the day," Wilder said. "Without handling business, then nothing else is moving forward. I'm taking it one fight at a time. I'm taking it all in one day at a time. Once I've accomplished and finished what I have to do with Robert, then I'll move on, and I'll be looking forward to the next challenge, whether it's Usyk or whether it's anybody else."