Anthony 'AJ' Joshua(24-1, 22KOs) was slated to fight Tyson Fury(30-0-1, 21KOs) in what was supposed to be the biggest fight of the year. This fight, however, was not meant to be as Fury is set to face Deontay Wilder(42-1-1, 41KOs) in the third fight of their trilogy after Fury initially declined to give Wilder a rematch. Numerous courtroom and administrative appeals later, it appears that Fury is now being forced to take the Wilder rematch, which has thrown a spanner into the works of the superfight.
With Fury fighting Wilder, it is clear that AJ has to find an opponent of his own. Luckily for the Englishman, the choice was not very hard to make as it was already made for him. Due to the Fury fight falling through, the WBO forced AJ's hand and ordered him to face the WBO's mandatory challenger, Oleksandr Usyk(18-0, 13KOs). The fight is going to be Usyk's first shot at the heavyweight title since he moved up to the heavyweight division in 2019.
"This week, that fight will be signed," Eddie Hearn(AJ's promoter) told DAZN. "We're looking at September in London. Just finalising the details. It's a great fight, a dangerous fight, it's not the one we necessarily wanted or expected. But it's a high-level heavyweight fight."
Usyk has made waves in the heavyweight pool as he joined its ranks in 2019. The Ukrainian was the first fighter to hold all four cruiserweight belts at the same time; this achievement also made him the fourth male boxer to hold four divisional belts at the same time, the others being Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins, and Terence Crawford. In his most recent fight against Derek Chisora(32-11, 23KOs), it was evident that although he moved up in weight that his abilities from the cruiserweight division still held firm as he was able to use his stellar footwork and excellent stamina to tire out Chisora and win with a unanimous decision.
AJ is coming off the heels of his victory over Kubrat Pulev in (28-2, 14KOs), which saw the Bulgarian get knocked out in the ninth round. While, as Hearn said, the fight isn't what everyone wanted or expected, it will undoubtedly be exciting as it will show whether or not Usyk has what it takes to indeed be a heavyweight.