By Keith Idec
Oleksandr Usyk has taken the next logical step toward securing the high-profile fights he really wants.
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced Friday that Usyk has signed a contract with Matchroom Boxing. Usyk’s agreement with Matchroom, which will co-promote him along with K2 Promotions, is expected to lead the undisputed cruiserweight champion to a heavyweight fight against England’s Tony Bellew.
If the undefeated Ukrainian beats Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs), he’ll become a potential opponent for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
“A fight with Tony Bellew would be a momentous occasion,” Usyk said in a press release. “He is a good boxer and a good person, and I also have the option to move into the heavyweight division. Thankfully, England is more than just a country for me. In this country, I got what I was reaching for half of my life. I got my Olympic gold medal [in London in 2012] and in Liverpool I became European champion in 2008. England is a lucky country for me and fortune comes only with hard work.”
As part of his agreement with Matchroom Boxing, Usyk’s fights will be broadcast by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and DAZN in the United States.
“I’m delighted to be working with Oleksandr Usyk and K2 in bringing a pound-for-pound star to the Matchroom team,” Hearn said. “Usyk holds all the cards at cruiserweight and already is eyeing a move to heavyweight, in particular a fight with Anthony Joshua. Right now our priority is to try and finalize a super fight with Tony Bellew later this year. But either way, we will announce his next fight in the very near future.”
Usyk produced the most impressive victory over his four-year pro career in his last fight.
He masterfully out-boxed Russia’s Murat Gassiev and won a wide unanimous decision in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ cruiserweight tournament July 21 in Moscow. The 31-year-old Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) defended his WBC and WBO cruiserweight titles in that bout and took the IBF and WBA crowns from Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.