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'A monster fight': Anthony Joshua could face Oleksandr Usyk in 2019, manager says

'A monster fight': Anthony Joshua could face Oleksandr Usyk in 2019, manager says
Anthony Joshua's manager Eddie Hearn says cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk could be ready to challenge the Brit for his world heavyweight titles as early as next fall.

Usyk recently knocked out Britain's Tony Bellew in Manchester to extend his professional record to 16-0 with 12 knockouts.

READ MORE: 'Tony Bellew died tonight': Brilliant Oleksandr Usyk defends crown, stops Bellew in the 8th

The undefeated Ukrainian holds the WBO, WBC, WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles, and is the consensus number-one cruiserweight in the world.

But with the 31-year-old now eyeing a move up to join boxing's big guns in the heavyweight division, Matchroom promoter Hearn says he can visualize a world title bout between Usyk and Joshua in the second half of 2019.

But Hearn warned the cruiserweight world champion would have to cut his teeth in a couple of suitable warm-up fights before being given a shot at world champion Joshua.

"I think if Usyk shows what he will show at heavyweight, and if he puts himself in a position, AJ will have no problem fighting him. That could end up being a huge, huge fight," he told Sky Sports.

"I see him having two fights probably before he’s ready for Joshua at heavyweight."

READ MORE: Oleksandr Usyk chasing Anthony Joshua showdown, says promoter

With Joshua holding the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles, Hearn's main attention is on the upcoming heavyweight title clash between WBC champ Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, with Joshua posting to his Instagram account suggesting he intends to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in 2019.

Both Wilder and Brit Dillian Whyte - who faces Dereck Chisora on December 22 - are on Hearn's radar as potential next opponents for Joshua.

And Hearn says if the Wilder fight doesn't come to fruition it may move Usyk further up the queue to face "AJ" in 2019.

"I think if the Wilder fight doesn’t happen, then we could go [with] Whyte if he beats Chisora, and then Usyk after that," he mused.

"But a lot depends on what Usyk wants to do, and whether he feels like he’s ready.

"I think the AJ fight is a very, very, very tough fight for Usyk. AJ is very fast, and he’s very mobile. I think Usyk will do better against slower heavyweights, who aren’t as mobile.

"But it’s going to end up being a monster fight at some point."

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