Hearn: Joshua Must Be Ruthless To Beat Usyk or Career Could Be Derailed
Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, says his boxer must bring his A-game if he intends to overcome mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua vs. Usyk is heading to a showdown on a date in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
The two sides have been in talks for the last few weeks – with a deal finally being reached between the parties.
“We have both alerted the WBO, myself and (Usyk’s promoter) Alex Krassyuk. Terms are agreed. The offer we made to them has been accepted,” Hearn said to Sky Sports.
“We move forward to paper that now. We are going through the contract with their team. It is very amicable. They have been partners of ours for a long time. This is a fight that could derail the career of Joshua if he’s not on it, if he’s not 100 percent. AJ needs to be ruthless. He needs to show the [ruthlessness of] Derek Chisora with more cuteness and sharpness.”
Usyk, who like Joshua captured Olympic gold in the 2012 games, unified the entire cruiserweight division in 2018.
He moved up to the heavyweight division the following year and was immediately made the mandatory challenger by the World Boxing Organization.
“Usyk just wants the fight, he wants the opportunity to become heavyweight champion. [Joshua] loves the fight. We all know it’s tricky, we all know it’s difficult. But what else are we going to do?,” Hearn said.
“AJ is a throwback fighter and, for years and years, has faced all of the people that [were made his mandatory challengers]. Time and time again, AJ has never shirked a challenge. And this is a real challenge. Look at the pound-for-pound top-10 list, AJ is not on it. Usyk is. AJ wants to make a statement, these are the fights that he likes.”