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Anthony Joshua welcomes Oleksandr Usyk to the heavyweight division

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Promoter Eddie Hearn says his star heavyweight Anthony Joshua was excited at the news former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk would be joining him in the division.

The undefeated Usyk 16-0 (12) will make his heavyweight debut on Saturday when he takes on late replacement Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.

“Joshua was excited when we signed Usyk, he was excited to see him in the heavyweight division,” Hearn said to Sky Sports.

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“Joshua saw Usyk a lot in the amateurs and he has never been scared to fight anybody, so he’d be up for fighting Usyk.

“Usyk is the mandatory but has to keep winning and has to show that he is ready to fight [the champions] of the division.”

Joshua will attempt to regain his IBF, WBA and WBO titles from Andy Ruiz Jr when they rematch in Saudi Arabia in December.

The winner of that bout will face mandatory challenges from Usyk (WBO) and Kubrat Pulev (IBF) in 2020.

“It will be a mess,” said Hearn. “The belts are on the line in Saudi Arabia then the winner must decide what to do.

“But there is going to be a problem because mandatories are due with both organisations.

“He will fight for the world heavyweight title in his next fight, if he beats [Witherspoon]. He wants to jump straight in. He thinks he can beat everybody.

“We’ll never really know until he’s in with the elite of the elite. Those four or five guys, big, big men that can really test him.

“I don’t know how easily he made cruiserweight, so maybe the extra stone will give him extra power. He won’t be the biggest punching heavyweight of all time but whatever he lacks (which won’t be much), he will make up for in skill.”

Last year Joshua warned Usyk that the heavyweight division holds its own unique challenges.

“Usyk needs to move up in the right stages and figure out what it’s like being with 17 or 18 stone guys who can punch very hard,” he said.

“It’s not just based on skill, the heavyweight division. It’s based on will. How much you can take.

“I know he’s got amateur experience and has done well as a cruiserweight but if he moves up to the heavyweight division, it will also test his will as well as his skill.”

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