Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Anthony Joshua’s fight with Oleksandr Usyk is expected to be finalised in the next few days with the heavyweight champion still waiting for his next move.
The fight could be announced as early as next week as the pair will go head to head after Joshua was ordered by the WBO to face his mandatory challenger following the collapse of his undisputed title decider with Tyson Fury.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KO’s) has been out of the ring for several months now and the experienced Usyk will put all of his skills to the test.
The two-time unified world heavyweight champion successfully defended his titles when he knocked out Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in December.
Asked when Joshua’s next fight will be announced, Hearn told DAZN: “I am pretty confident we will sign for Joshua vs Usyk this week.
“That fight will take place in September in London.”
Just a month ago, Joshua, 32, had agreed to fight fellow Briton Fury – the holder of the WBC and Ring magazine belts – for all four heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia on August 14.
Their hopes, however, were quickly dashed when Fury was forced to face Deontay Wilder for the third time, leaving Hearn rushing to find a replacement opponent for Joshua.
‘AJ’ has been left rather frustrated by the collapse of the biggest fight of his career, as he traded barbs with his bitter rival on social media.
But Hearn believes he did everything he possibly could to prevent that from happening, attributing the blame to Fury’s co-promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT.
He said: “We never forgot about the arbitration, we were just lied to by Bob Arum and by Team Fury.
“We were told consistently by that side of the team – this arbitration will have absolutely no bearing on the AJ vs Fury fight.
“Everybody signed a contract to move forward with this fight.
“They then refused to help [with the site deal], ‘Eddie Hearn won’t deliver this fight, he can’t deliver this deal, who’s gonna pay for this in the middle of a pandemic?’
“So I went out with my travel bag all around the world and I signed an absolutely beautiful opportunity for Anthony Joshua – the opportunity of the Tyson Fury fight in Saudi Arabia.”
“Both fighters absolutely delighted, over the moon with the offer, with the numbers, we’ve got it, it’s done.
“Tyson Fury comes out and says, ‘Deal’s done, spoke to Saudi Arabia, August 14.’
“And then the world comes crashing down.
“Do I feel like I’ve let fight fans down? Yeah, you can blame it on me I suppose.
“But at the end of the day I can look myself in the mirror and say, ‘I couldn’t have done any more.’”