Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn is already playing out his heavyweight deck of cards for 2020.
Oleksandr Usyk will fight Dereck Chisora on March 7, Hearn told BoxingScene.com in an interview. The fight is tentatively being tabled, just to see if Anthony Joshua has to first move forward with his IBF mandatory with Kubrat Pulev.
Usyk is the WBO mandatory challenger for Joshua, but Hearn believes Pulev will get the first crack at Joshua, most likely in April. He also believes marinating the matchup a bit longer will end up benefiting the promotion in the end.
“Usyk-Joshua is a mega fight, but not quite yet. If [Usyk] goes and fights Chisora and has a big heavyweight fight, Usyk-Joshua can be a monster fight in the back half of next year,” said Hearn.
“We need to have a conversation of common sense between the governing bodies. We’ve written to to the IBF and WBO. Who goes first? You can’t just hold Anthony to ransom and say you have to vacate one [of the belts]. There is a rotational system that chronologically tells you who goes first. It’s the IBF. But I also represent Usyk, so I have to push for him as well. It’s a bit of a messy situation, but Joshua will defend his titles against whoever he has to. But he really wants the undisputed fight, so we’ll so what happens on Feb. 22 between [Wilder and Fury].”
Hearn said Joshua has no intentions of vacating any of the four heavyweight titles he won back from Andy Ruiz earlier this month with a dominant unanimous decision in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk made his heavyweight debut Oct. 12 with a milquetoast stoppage of late replacement opponent Chazz Witherspoon, while Chisora made easy work of David Price in three rounds two weeks later.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at email@example.com.