By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
ANTHONY JOSHUA could be set for a clash with cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk in April.
The Ukrainian has emerged as a possible opponent for the Brit’s Wembley date next year if a deal cannot be agreed with Deontay Wilder.
WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua faces Alexander Povetkin, 38, on September 22 at the national stadium.
Then he wants to face WBC title holder Wilder, 32, to become the first undisputed ruler of the division since fellow Brit Lennox Lewis.
But Usyk, 31 – who beat Murat Gassiev last week to win all four belts at cruiserweight – has already told Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn he wants the fight.
But if he beats the Liverpool fighter, 35, then he could step up to heavyweight to take on Joshua, 28, on April 13.
Hearn said: “Everybody seems to want to fight Joshua because he is the biggest fight in boxing.
“Usyk’s plan is to fight Joshua and we have a plan for Usyk to get to Joshua.
“He would have to go through Tony Bellew. My only priority for Usyk is Tony Bellew – but he has the ability to be in some huge heavyweight fights.
“That is the fight Usyk’s guys want down the line. They also know there are other fights to mould into the division.
“But it could possibly be in April. Joshua wants the Usyk fight, he is fascinated by that kind of thing because he wants to test himself against people who he thinks are brilliant. He thinks Usyk is brilliant.
“Joshua is up for it. But I think Usyk will struggle against the big boys like any cruiserweight would.”
Hearn is continuing talks with the Ukrainian’s promoters – the Klitschko brothers’ K2 – over a date with Bellew later this year.
He wants the fight at The O2 Arena in London where Bellew beat David Haye twice in his last two fights at heavyweight.
But the Liverpool fighter, who once held the WBC cruiserweight title, will only take the fight at 14st 4lbs as he wants to be undisputed champion.
Hearn added: “The first person Usyk called out after beating Gassiev and becoming undisputed champion was Bellew, which was remarkable.
“Tony phoned me straight away to make the fight and said he would knock him out.
“He said it has to be for all the belts at cruiserweight.
"With Usyk, he is arguably pound-for-pound No.1 in the world. He is certainly top three so if Tony Bellew beats him does that make him No.1? That’s what you’re gambling on.
“Tony Bellew needs something, he’s made his money and he still wants paying.
“But this is something that says, ‘If you win this you’re unified cruiserweight champion and go down as one of Britain’s all-time greats’.
“That does appeal to him. We have made them some offers to talk numbers.”