Eddie Hearn, co-promoter for WBO, WBC, WBA, IBF cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, outlined a variety of potential opponents for the boxer.
Earlier this month, Usyk knocked out Tony Bellew in what is likely the unified champ’s final bout at the cruiserweight limit.
Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) has made it no secret that he wants to collide with unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) in 2019.
The possibility of getting Joshua is one of the major reasons that Usyk signed a deal with Hearn.
But before he can get in the ring with Joshua – Usyk’s handlers would like their man to get a fight or two with some solid contenders to get his feet wet in the heavyweight division.
Usyk is very motivated to replicate the accomplishments of Evander Holyfield – who unified the entire cruserweight division and then went on to unify the heavyweight division.
And Hearn sees numerous heavyweight possibilities – and he expects the Olympic gold medal winner to see some serious heavyweight action in 2019.
“Ultimately if he talks about the likes of Joshua, he needs to move into those realms of opponents and size, sooner rather than later,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“He is 31, so he’s a spring chicken in terms of miles on the clock in the professional game, but he’s good enough to go on and mix it with those top heavyweights now. You look at the opponents for Usyk at heavyweight – Jarrell Miller, Dillian Whyte, Derek Chisora, Adam Kownacki, Luis Ortiz. There’s so many fights for him at heavyweight that he could jump straight into.
“Back to the days of Evander Holyfield, he was a genius, his size compared to the others, but he made up for it with skill and heart. Usyk is going to have to do the same thing, because to beat these big, big guys, he’s going to have to do what very few have done before him. How many have gone from undisputed or unified cruiserweight champion to undisputed or unified heavyweight champion? Not many, so he would be on a very small list, but that’s what he wants to do. He’s focused to do it, and I see Usyk being in some major heavyweight fights in 2019.”