Oleksandr Usyk’s team have shown their desire for a heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua in 2019, promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed.
The Ukrainian has aspirations of challenging for titles in the top division but must defeat Tony Bellew at Manchester Arena on Saturday night first, putting all four of his world cruiserweight belts at stake.
Hearn has already secured multi-fight deals with Usyk and reveals he could become Joshua’s second opponent next year, with the unified heavyweight champion scheduled to make his first defence at Wembley Stadium on April 13.
Speaking to Sky Sports about a possible timescale for a Usyk fight, Hearn added: “Joshua will only fight twice next year, so it will be the one after.
“It won’t be the first one, because I think Usyk will want to fight at heavyweight first. There are loads of fights out there for him.”
Joshua still hopes his opening fight of the year could be against Deontay Wilder, who defends his WBC title against Tyson Fury on December 1, while Dillian Whyte is also being considered as an alternative opponent for April.
But ‘AJ’ has already identified a method to defeat Usyk, if they share the ring in the future, and believes fellow Brit Bellew can deliver a fight-ending punch this weekend.