It’s been a tough year for fans of the heavyweight division. After months of mind-bending negotiations, the eagerly-awaited undisputed heavyweight title clash between rival champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury collapsed at the final hurdle in May when an arbitrator ruled the ‘Gypsy King’ must fulfil a previously contracted trilogy fight with American nemesis Deontay Wilder.
Fury-Wilder III then hit the rocks when the WBC champion from Manchester tested positive for Covid-19, postponing their July 24 encounter until October 9. WBA Super, WBO and IBF title holder Joshua could only look on in frustration as his dreams of a 2021 unification evaporated, but will dust himself off to face WBO No.1 contender Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.
With a Fury unification off the table for now, Joshua believes that the gifted Ukrainian, a fellow London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, is just as dangerous a proposition as the ‘Gypsy King’ despite his disappointment at that fight’s disintegration.
“I don’t want to point any fingers. I was definitely ready. We move forward. I’ve got another challenger who’s good, just as good [as Fury],” Joshua told Sky Sports.
“I have to be serious about [Usyk] now. He will definitely step up, he will definitely take the fight. That’s what I need – people who are serious. I would have loved to have boxed for the undisputed championship because it was a big fight for the public. We had everything set up. I have to move forward and not keep dwelling.
“The most important fight for me is the next one but you have to have a vision of where you want to get to. I have to stay consistent and stay ready.
“Once I fight Usyk, who knows what will happen next? Will I fight Fury, Wilder, Dillian Whyte, Andy Ruiz, Luis Ortiz? Who knows. I have to stay on track and be ready for each fight, but have a long-term plan. It’s about the belts, not the person. I don’t mind who it is. I want to fight for legacy.”
Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.