By Luke Furman
As previously reported, the world cruiserweight champion of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the World Boxing Council (WBC), Olkesandr Usyk of Ukraine, withdrew 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.
While the contest is being targeted for Saudi Arabia, there is a huge financial push to secure the fight for Russia.
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.
But the location does not sit very well for Usyk, who rejects the idea of facing Gassiev 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.
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.
Gassiev has a record of 26 wins (19 by knockout) and no defeats. And Usyk has a ledger of 14 wins (11 by knockout), and no defeats.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.