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Oleksandr Usyk wants to enforce mandatory title fight against Anthony Joshua

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Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk’s manager Egis Klimas has reinforced his fighter’s position that they want a shot at WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua sooner rather than later.

Joshua has been linked with a big-money fight against newly crowned WBC champion Tyson Fury in December.

Ukrainian southpaw Usyk is scheduled to face perennial contender Dereck Chisora at The O2 in London on May 23.

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Klimas says Usyk, the number one contender for the WBO belt, won’t accept being sidelined for his heavyweight world title shot.

“They can’t. How can they do that?” he said to Sky Sports.

“Right now, we have to win [against Chisora], then after the mandatory fight for the WBO has to happen.

“I believe Anthony also wants this fight. Good fighters want to fight good fighters. Anthony sees a good challenge in Oleksandr and wants to go there. Everybody says Oleksandr will give Anthony problems, but Anthony believes the opposite so wants to show that he is stronger.

“In the UK would make sense – it wouldn’t make sense to go to the States with one boxer from the UK and one from Ukraine. The UK fans know Usyk.”

Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk, who works alongside Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, said last week: “As soon as Usyk completes his task with Chisora we all expect he will face AJ.

“This island holds all the heavyweight belts so that’s why we’re here digging.

“He needs to fight a tough opponent and Chisora has good experience. We decided to go this route.”

Usyk will be risking his mandatory opportunity at Joshua by facing Chisora but his team said they never considered sitting on the sidelines.

“We didn’t want to wait for a long time, Oleksandr wants to be in the ring to get busy,” said Klimas.

“It would be a big problem to not box for a long time.”

Joshua has previously indicated he would be keen to face Usyk.

“When I’m trying to build my record, I want opponents like Usyk to say that I’ve defeated them,” he told Sky Sports.

“He uses his feet very well and positions his hands well. You can’t hit him because his feet move so well. If you do manage to catch him, [the punches] are brushing off the gloves.

“What I’d do, as I have done already, is study him – from his footwork, his hand positioning, to his openings.

“Then I’d go to former people who have faced him and find out information on how to defeat him.”

In his heavyweight debut last October, Usyk stopped late replacement Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds.

“Usyk is a great cruiserweight, the undisputed cruiserweight champion, who has decided to move up to heavyweight to mix it with the big boys,” Joshua continued.

“He’s still exploring the division but he wants a piece of the big pie – he’s more than welcome to try to take this out of my hands.”

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