Eddie Hearn predicts Oleksandr Usyk will have some headline heavyweight bouts in 2019 as there are few options remaining for him at cruiserweight.
The highly gifted undisputed cruiserweight champion defended all four of his belts against the now retired Tony Bellew in Manchester earlier this month courtesy of an eighth-round knockout.
Usyk has spoken of his desire to test his skills at heavyweight with a dream bout against Anthony Joshua, also part of Hearn’s Matchroom stable, a possibility further down the line.
And Hearn is tipping Usyk for big things.
“I think Usyk’s got his eyes on the heavyweight division. He’ll be over on December 22 at The O2 as well to watch Whyte-Chisora, as a lot of people will be, and I think he’s got his eyes on the winner of that as well,” Hearn said.
“It’s going to take a very special fight for him to stay at cruiserweight, but my guess is in 2019, you will see him move sharply to the heavyweight division.
“I think Whyte and Chisora both hope to get AJ at Wembley on April 13. We know what we want, we want Deontay Wilder. Obviously if Tyson Fury wins, they’ll be a rematch clause, that will put the undisputed fight on ice for us, so we’ll then look at the winner of December 22.
In his present division, Hearn believes only a bout with Adonis Stevenson or the retired Andre Ward would tempt Usyk.
He added: “I still think he’ll move to heavyweight, because if he doesn’t, who are the fights?
“Really, I see probably two fights – that’s Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson. Ward is retired. Would he come out for a Usyk fight? Who knows.
“Adonis Stevenson is at light-heavy, but talks about moving to cruiser. It could be a big fight in the US market. [Denis] Lebedev is one that’s a big fight in Russia.”