Deontay Wilder Vs Oleksandr Usyk Next?
Deontay Wilder is ready to become a two-time heavyweight champion.
Shelly Finkel, manager for the former WBC titlist, says his pupil is ready to step in and fill the void left behind by current WBC strongholder Tyson Fury.
WBA, IBF, WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk was in negotiations to face Fury on April 29 in London, but longtime boxing scribe Steve Kim reported Wednesday that negotiations between the Ukrainian and the Englishman had fallen apart.
“If the Usyk fight is available, Deontay will take it in a heartbeat,” Finkel told Sky Sports.
Malik Scott, a former heavyweight contender-turned-trainer, is confident Wilder could become the first man to not only defeat Usyk, but also knock out the 36-year-old two-division world champion.
“One plus one is two, and Usyk gets hit,” Scott told Mirror Fighting . “Deontay is the hardest puncher in the history of the sport and Deontay doesn't have to hit you over and over and over, if you're tough enough to take it then you can take it. Usyk is a smaller man, but we'll see how much Usyk can take it.”
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), however, could potentially be bound by the octopus-esque reach of the sanctioning bodies. The undefeated champion has three mandatory bouts on the table. The WBA previously ordered Usyk to face secondary titleholder Daniel Dubois if the talks with Fury were to collapse. Well, they have. Usyk could request another exemption, but that could also mean Dubois could pocket some step-aside money in the process.
Next on tap would be a defense against IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. And to boot, the WBO has interim champion Joe Joyce, who must win an upcoming fight against hard-hitting Zhilei Zhang to keep his hopes in the Usyk sweepstakes alive.
The 37-year-old Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) was in talks to face former unified champion Andy Ruiz in a WBC final eliminator, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement.