Oleksandr Usyk is waiting to discover if Anthony Joshua “is brave enough” to agree a fight for the world heavyweight championship.
The deadline of May 31, delivered by the WBO who ordered Joshua to face his mandatory challenger, has elapsed – the champion’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said: “We’ll either make a deal or we’ll vacate” the belt.
“We are waiting for King AJ’s decision whether he is brave enough to get dethroned,” Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports.
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Asked if he expected a deal to be struck, or if Joshua might seek other options, Krassyuk said: “I have no idea at the moment. We are expecting his decision.”
He had previously told Sky Sports: “There are no visible obstacles to the deal not to take place.”
IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua was ordered to take on Usyk after the collapse of his planned undisputed showdown with Tyson Fury, who will now face Deontay Wilder on July 24.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn previously told Behind The Gloves about Usyk: “It is the fight that is most likely for us.
“We are talking to other people, as well, about other fights.
“The aim is to be undisputed. All AJ has done is to box off mandatory fights to keep the belt. How much longer does he have to do that?
“You never get the freedom to do what you want. In an ideal world we’d like to do what Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has done – have three fights in six months.
“But it’s about defending the belts. He wants to become undisputed.
“He doesn’t want to lose the belts but his hands are always tied.”
‘Usyk not a true heavyweight contender’
Dillian Whyte told Sky Sports: “It’s a dead fight. Usyk hasn’t looked good.
“Who has he fought at heavyweight? Chazz Witherspoon, Derek Chisora. He looked terrible in the fights. He has no punch power.
“Okay, he’s got good movement, but it’s not nice movement. At cruiserweight his movement was nice, but at heavyweight, his movement is not nice. It’s just so negative.
“The Derek Chisora fight, I watched the first six rounds and when Derek tired, I was like, this is rubbish. Derek was out on his feet and he couldn’t even stop him. He was punching him clean and Derek was walking through.
“Usyk is not a true heavyweight contender.
“I always come to fight and anyone that fights me, you will know that you’ve been in a fight, regardless, win, lose or draw.
“The two fights I lost, the guys took major damage.
“Anthony Joshua almost got knocked out when I fought him. If you watch the clips back you hear him saying, ‘If I took one more body shot from him, I would have folded in half’.
“These guys know regardless, win, lose or draw. I come to give work.”
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