Tyson Fury has made his intentions clear: He plans to fight countryman Anthony Joshua in December rather than wait for a showdown with Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Now it’s Usyk’s turn to make a move. He told RingTV.com that he wants to fight the winner of the Oct. 15 Deonty Wilder-Robert Helenius fight next.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) was stopped in his second and third fights with Fury but remains dangerous because of his punching power. Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) is coming off back-to-back decisions over Joshua.
“Wilder is a dangerous fighter, and that fight would most likely be in the United States,” said Usyk, who plans to be ringside for Wilder-Helenius in Brooklyn.
Fury was expected to face Usyk to unify all four major heavyweight titles but went a different direction, in part, because he understood that Usyk wouldn’t be available until next year. The Englishman didn’t want to wait that long to get back into the ring.
However, Usyk’s manager, Egis Klimas, seemed to indicate that wasn’t true when he said, “Usyk wanted to fight Fury by the end of the year.” Fury probably also sees an all-British showdown with Joshua as a more lucrative event.
Usyk clearly doesn’t think much of his rival’s decision.
“I’m not pissed off at all,” he said. “The bigger problem is Tyson Fury is not letting fans see one of the best historical bouts in boxing history. That’s his fault. Not mine. So I’m not pissed off at all. Tyson Fury can fight whoever he wants to fight.
“From the standpoint of sportsmanship, of course it’s not correct [that Fury isn’t fighting him].”
Usyk’s manager, Egis Klimas, said his client had no choice but to pursue another opponent rather than wait to face the winner of the fight in December because one Fury-Joshua fight could lead to another.
Plus, Klimas doesn’t want his client to chase Fury.
“What happens when Joshua beats his ass?” Klimas said. “What will happen next? They will go to a rematch, which will push back the chance to have an undisputed world champion. I think Fury is most likely afraid of Usyk. Why does he run away from Usyk? Why? Because Fury sees danger in Usyk.
“Usyk wanted to fight Fury by the end of the year. You know what, we’re not running after him. We have three belts. He has one belt. Who cares? It’s a situation Fury created. Not Usyk.”
Klimas also doesn’t know when to take Fury seriously.
“Usyk is the heavyweight world champion and look how many statements Fury has made these last few months,” Klimas said. “He’s retiring, he’s not retiring, he’s fighting Usyk, he’s not Usyk,. And now he’s fighting Joshua. You really don’t know what Fury is going to do next.
“If you look in his past at everything that happened, Fury always caused a problem when it came to getting an undisputed world champion. He’s unpredictable.”
And Klimas took one more jab at Fury.
“Usyk would like to fight Wilder, but whoever wins that fight would be next for Usyk,” he said. “Usyk is not like Fury. He’s looking for the winners not looking for the losers.”