On the night of October 31, at the SSE Arena in London, while Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk was winning round after round against Derek Chisora, Anthony Joshua was at the ringside watching the fighter who could be his next opponent.
The IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion was sitting next to the Sky Sport commentators. However, in reality, Anthony Joshua was busy taking notes on Usyk’s movements, strategies and shots. Oleksandr Usyk, at his second match in the heavyweight category, is the official challenger designated by the WBO for Joshua.
For some time now the boxing world has been anxiously awaiting the clash between the English champion and his compatriot Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury for the reunification of the belts. According to recent rumors, the super-fight may happen in 2021 but nothing has been confirmed yet. However, after last bout against Chisora, Usyk has immediately claimed his right to fight for the belts against Joshua. Oleksandr Usyk has been very straight in the post-match press conference: either Anthony Joshua fight against him, or the British champion is free to vacate the WBO belt and fight Tyson Fury.
Apparently Joshua does not dislike the idea of fighting Usyk before the super-fight with Tyson Fury, provided he wins against the Ukrainian boxer. Joshua mentioned that he was attending the match between Usyk and Chisora to “see my opponents in person”. He added explicitly after a while that he was watching and studying his “obligatory challenger”!
In any event, Joshua before thinking about Fury or Usyk, needs to make sure that another Andy Ruiz-style accident won’t happen winning against the mandatory challenger designated by IBF, Kubrat Pulev. Despite being favorite, Anthony Joshua cannot underestimate Pulev and the aggressiveness of the Bulgarian “Cobra”. That would be a terrible mistake!