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Oleksandr Usyk will not sidestep mandatory title fight against Anthony Joshua, says Eddie Hearn

Oleksandr-Usyk-081519-getty-ftr (Getty Images)

Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) is the mandatory challenger for the WBO heavyweight title, and Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn believes he will indeed attempt to challenge current champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), if the two get past Dereck Chisora and Kubrat Pulev, respectively.

Though neither card has been 100 per cent confirmed, Hearn has been quoted in multiple interviews as being confident that Usyk vs. Chisora — a fight initially set for May until the COVID-19 pandemic shut boxing down for several months — will resurface for Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, Hearn is also applying the finishing touches to have Joshua vs. Pulev, another big fight postponed due to the coronavirus, land on Dec. 12.

Joshua, who also holds the WBA (Super) and IBF titles, is expected to move on to scheduling a huge heavyweight unification with fellow Brit Tyson Fury if he gets past Pulev, but Hearn has admitted that Usyk is unlikely to be willing to wait any longer than he has to for a world title.

"For sure, yes he’s not stepping aside," Hearn told Sky Sports. "He wants the fight — the winner of Joshua against Pulev for the WBO world title. Maybe Mr. Chisora puts a spanner in the works like Alexander Povetkin did [with Dillian Whyte]. Anything could happen.

"Usyk believes he could go out, get a good win under his belt in the heavyweight division and then move on to challenge for a world title in 2021."

The sentiment was corroborated by Usyk's team, with his co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk saying they will be enforcing his right to a fight for the WBO title as soon as they get past Chisora.

"Usyk has been the WBO mandatory challenger for more than one year," Krassyuk told Sky.

"He has agreed to let AJ versus Pulev happen, with regards that the winner fights him next. This statement is still solid.

"Our plan is A) beat Derek Chisora, B) push AJ to comply with WBO rules or vacate the title, C) defeat AJ (or any other WBO champion or contender) and become the heavyweight champion. Simple and practical."

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