Anthony Joshua after stopping Kubrat Pulev in his most recent bout
Anthony Joshua believes he will “punish” Oleksandr Usyk in the ring if a heavyweight clash between the pair is made, according to the Briton’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
Hearn had seemingly negotiated a deal for Joshua to take on compatriot and fellow champion Tyson Fury in a unification bout on 11 August, but an arbitrator ruled that Fury must complete a trilogy with Deontay Wilder before 15 September.
Fury has signed the contract for that third bout with Wilder, with whom he drew in December 2018 before stopping the American in the seventh round last February. As a result, the highly-anticipated meeting between Joshua and Fury is set to be delayed, with AJ expected to take on mandatory challenger Usyk next.
Should that contest come to fruition, Hearn has said Joshua may just take out his frustrations over the collapsed Fury fight on Usyk, the Ukrainian former cruiserweight who moved up to heavyweight in his last bout and outpointed Dereck Chisora.
“It kind of feels like we’re always having to pleased somebody, and that generally comes from the governing bodies,” Hearn told Steve Kim.
“If you look at the run of fights Anthony Joshua’s had since Wladimir Klitschko, he was ordered to fight a mandatory straight after that – it was [Kubrat] Pulev. He accepted that fight and then Pulev pulled out with a week to go, and he boxed [Carlos] Takam.
“In his next fight, he boxed Joseph Parker in a unification fight. In the fight after that, he was told he’s got to face a WBA mandatory, against Alexander Povetkin – quite a prime Povetkin at the time as well, by the way.
“Then after that, he actually had a voluntary. Who did he choose as a voluntary? Andy Ruiz. He loses to him, he fights Andy Ruiz again, and then he’s told: ‘Now you’ve got another mandatory, it’s Kubrat Pulev.’
“Now you try to make the undisputed fight [with Fury], and you’re told again: ‘Right, you’ve got another mandatory, and it’s Oleksandr Usyk.’
“If the deal’s right and everyone’s sensible, we make that fight in a heartbeat. AJ believes he punishes Oleksandr Usyk.
“But you have to understand, Anthony Joshua is a throwback fighter. Look at that resume, where’s the easy fights? Joshua is continuously fighting these guys that he gets a letter about, telling him: ‘You must do this.’
“At some point, with the way he’s probably feeling at the moment and the way I’m feeling, you don’t want to be told what to do.”
Joshua holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles, while Fury is WBC champion, having taken that championship from Wilder in their rematch.
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