By Luke Furman
News broke on Monday that the world cruiserweight champion of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the World Boxing Council (WBC), Olkesandr Usyk of Ukraine, was forced to withdraw from a scheduled fight with IBF, WBA world champion Murat Gassiev.
Usyk, who suffered a minor elbow injury, was scheduled to fight Gassiev next month in Saudi Arabia.
Their contest is the final bout of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament.
According to the boxer himself, he will be ready to fight by the end of June or early July.
The General Secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation, Umar Kremlev, has already gone on record that his organization is ready and willing to stake a lot of money to stage Usyk vs. Gassiev on July 22 in Moscow.
Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) made it clear that he rejects the idea of facing Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs) on his home turf.
"Most likely, I will be ready to fight by the end of June or the start of July, and [the fight] will not be Russia. Of course, it could take place in Russia, but then [the fight] would be without Olekandr Usyk," said Usyk to Ukrainian Sport.
Kremlev has heard about the comments made by Usyk and says he's not the decision maker on where or when the contest takes place.
"He's not the one who decides here, and neither do we. It's up to the WBSS, who are the organizers of the super series, to decide where it happens. The WBSS will make the decision and that's where [Uysk] must fight," Kremlev said to Vasily Konov.
Usyk reached the tournament final by first picking up a dominating stoppage victory over former champion Marco Huck, and then winning a very tough twelve round unanimous decision over Marius Briedis in the semi-final. Gassiev knocked out Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in the first round of the tournament and then won an absolute war when he knocked out Yunier Dorticos in the semil-finals.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.