By Elliot Foster
Oleksandr Usyk wants a rest before he decides on his next move.
The Ukrainian former Olympic champion is a man of few words and it took him just one to confirm his intentions for the next 12 months.
Usyk retained his WBC, WBA Super, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine world cruiserweight titles on Saturday night, knocking out Tony Bellew inside eight rounds at Manchester Arena.
The aim ahead of and shortly after his glittering performance, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN Stateside, was a move to heavyweight and a world title fight in the sport’s premier division.
But the 31-year-old was very noncommittal on whether he will leave his cruiserweight reign behind to target a heavyweight showdown with WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO world champion Anthony Joshua or maybe even WBC champion Deontay Wilder, with co-promoter Eddie Hearn looking at the back end of 2019 to secure the fight.
He said: “You must be professional when taking these kind of decisions and right now my biggest concern is my rest because I want to have a vacation with my family.
“I’ve had a really tough year. It was the most difficult year of my career. It was the most successful one, but the most difficult as well, so now I’m thinking about spending time with my family –– my wife and my children –– and after that I will be ready to come up with a decision for the fans.
“But I will have some extra pasta for dinner. I enjoyed being here in the UK, most of my dreams have come true here.”
Hearn said that the aim for the ex-World Championships gold medallist and the former European amateur champion, in the coming months and years, is to box him all over the world.
“We have the option, with [promoter] Alex [Krassyuk] and [manager] Egis [Klimas] to box Oleksandr anywhere we want. We want to box him in America, Britain will want to see him back and I’d like to box him in Ukraine –– because he hasn’t boxed at home as a pro and has been to all of his opponents’ back yards –– but unfortunately I’ve seen his contract.
“There are so many great fights for him and it’s going to be so easy for Alex and Egis to tell me what they want to do and then we’ll do it. It’s going to be very simple moving forward but he needs a nice break.”
“Tak,” he said in his native language –– which of course means “Yes” if there was any doubt –– when he was asked about wanting to fight ‘AJ’ next year.
“You look at the contenders,” Hearn continued. “[Usyk is] going to want to move into heavyweight and get his foot in at that weight to feel comfortable and look at the guys who we work with.
“Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora, [Alexander] Povetkin, [Joseph] Parker, you have [Carlos] Takam, Jarrell Miller. There are so many heavyweights that we work with but I’m going to be told what to do.
“My guess is that they will want a strong fight at heavyweight, progress and ultimately go and challenge for the world heavyweight title.”