Anthony Joshua’s stance on Oleksandr Usyk fight if Tyson Fury clash is a no go

Anthony Joshua is up for a clash with Ukrainian star Oleksandr Usyk if he fails to land a mega-money bout with Tyson Fury.

And on the evidence of Usyk's clinical display against Derek Chisora then it would be an intriguing battle between the pair.

WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Joshua was ringside at Wembley Arena to get a first-hand glimpse of former cruiserweight king Usyk in his second fight in the sport's glamour division.

And AJ is up for facing his WBO mandatory should he beat Kubrat Pulev next month.

“AJ wants to fight Usyk,” said promoter Eddie Hearn, who works with both fighters.

“It’s all business, money is important to them but Usyk wants a heavyweight world title.

“If we can’t make the Fury fight and AJ beats Pulev, he is fighting Usyk one million per cent.”

Joshua will have seen some things that will give him confidence he could be the first man to beat the Ukrainian as a professional.

The fact a 36-year-old Chisora was able to impose himself on Usyk in the opening four rounds was one of them.

But there was more from Usyk's performance that shows that, even giving away almost three stone, won't rule out this man from conquering the land of the giants.

In the end, he was a comfortable winner despite the Brit's team feeling otherwise at ringside but the 117-112 scorecard was a more accurate than the two 115-113 ones.

Of course, it must be taken into context that Chisora, even though he was in great shape, has been around for a long time and has never broken into the top tier of heavyweights.

But Usyk's control of the contest when he found his rhythm was impressive while his feints, footwork and counter-punching were superb.

That will give any heavyweight in the world trouble no matter the size difference while although he took some big shots he was never hurt by the bigger man.

This was the night the weird and wonderful Ukrainian showed he can rough it up with the big bruisers in his 18th pro fight.

The only thing which is most certainly not on his side is time. Usyk's chances of beating the likes of Joshua and Fury are down to his speed and timing.

But, at 33, and after a long amateur career, the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist may find those qualities start to wane soon.

If Joshua and Fury fight twice next year as hoped, then Usyk could be 35 by the time he gets his chance.

He may get his world title opportunity against another opponent if Joshua is forced to give up the WBO belt.

Frank Warren has put forward the winner of Daniel Dubois against Joe Joyce for Usyk in that case.

“We will do whatever is ordered and Joseph Parker is No. 3 and is fighting Junior Fa, who is No. 5, so the winner will push for that No. 2 slot,” added Hearn.

“I still think Usyk is a huge favourite against Dubois but Dubois does have great size.

“Usyk will box his ears off, at the moment, but the size advantage is huge and Dubois punches very hard.”

Whatever the next step is it will be a fun ride with Usyk.

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