Tyson Fury says he was "absolutely wounded" by Anthony Joshua's defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last weekend.

Usyk claimed Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday, outclassing the champion at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 19-0 Usyk mastered Joshua, earning a unanimous points decision to leave the prospect of a unification fight between Fury and his fellow Briton in tatters.

With Joshua now looking set for a rematch with Usyk, Fury will put his WBC belt on the line when he faces Deontay Wilder for a third time at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 9.

Fury revealed he was rocked by the second defeat Joshua has suffered in his career.

He said: "Did I watch the fight? Yes I did. Was I absolutely wounded that he won? Yes I was. I was hoping Joshua could win the fight, but he couldn't – and that’s none of my business.

"The only thing I'm bothered about is beating Deontay Wilder, and that's the most dangerous heavyweight out there. In my opinion, Wilder beats Joshua, Usyk, all the rest of the division, comfortable – but he cannot beat me."

Fury stated that he has "no interest in slating anybody or kicking anybody while they are down".

He added: "It ain't my style. I like to pick on someone who is doing well, successful, on top of the game – I don’t like picking on people who are down and probably at their lowest point and probably mentally unstable and unwell with a big loss after such a long reign.

"Usyk did his job, he had to do what he had to do, and that's that, and Joshua has got to do what he has got to do."

Fury is focused on beating Wilder for a second time rather than who he might fight after doing battle with the American.

"I don't care about anybody else – they are not on my radar, only the 'Bronze Bomber', aka the big dosser," he said.

"After him, we will talk, the promoters will do their job, and I will always do mine. Never worry about the 'Gypsy King' fulfilling his end of a bargain – I will always f****** fight until there's not a fight left in me.

"You just worry about the other people doing their end of the bargain."

Fury warned Wilder he has no chance of gaining revenge.

"I'm in fantastic shape, fit as a fiddle. I'm absolutely ready, today, tomorrow and forever. I'll always be ready, and I'll never make excuses," he said.

"When I beat Wilder, I'll be on to the next one, so on and so forth. It's never about the opponent. It's the Tyson Fury show until I hang those gloves up. Until that day, it's all about me, and the roadshow continues. All these years, 2008 to 2021, and I'm still undefeated.

"There ain't a man out there born from his mother that can stop me or beat me. I haven't seen one yet anyway. Maybe he’s not born, or maybe he is but he hasn’t got the guts to come and fight me."

Oleksandr Usyk is ready to beat Anthony Joshua for a second time following confirmation that the dethroned heavyweight champion has "activated in principle" a rematch clause.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles by unanimous points decision.

Joshua, who is now 24-2 after suffering a second defeat in four fights, said after his latest surprise loss he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch to win back his belts.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev, Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed the wheels are in motion for the two men to meet again, likely in early 2022.

"The rematch was specified in the contract," Krassyuk said. "It has already been activated in principle, from the side of Joshua.

"So I remember when we discussed with Oleksandr the issue of rematch, he was delighted and said, 'Wow, cool, I will beat [Anthony] twice'."

Usyk's southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and the unbeaten Ukrainian left his opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

However, Joseph Parker – the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight – has backed the Briton to come back stronger if the rematch goes ahead.

"Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds," Parker told Stats Perform.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man, and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity, and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened, and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world, and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said he expects the rematch to take place in February or March next year, and it is "very likely to happen in the United Kingdom", as he effectively ruled out staging the high-profile bout in Ukraine.

But two-weight world champion Usyk, who is now 19-0, reiterated his desire to face Joshua in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium in his homeland.

Usyk said: "How does Hearn know that in February at the Olympic Stadium it is bad to box? Has he ever fought in February at the Olympic Stadium?"

Anthony Joshua must learn from his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk if he is to come back stronger and keep alive the possibility of facing Tyson Fury, according to Joseph Parker.

Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Usyk on Saturday after being outclassed by the Ukrainian on home soil at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 31-year-old had no answer to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk and lost on a unanimous points decision.

It was just the second defeat of Joshua's professional career, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 before reclaiming the belts in their rematch.

The prospect of Joshua and Fury facing off now appears slim, with the latter's promoter Frank Warren casting doubt on a bout that at one point looked certain to take place this year.

A rematch with 19-0 Usyk may now be on the cards for Joshua before he can contemplate facing Fury, who has a third clash with Deontay Wilder coming up on October 9.

But Parker, who was the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight in Cardiff, believes there is still hope of an all-British heavyweight clash taking place.

"I feel like the point is just the best fighting the best," Parker told Stats Perform. "Even though AJ lost that fight to Usyk, he's still considered one of the best. 

"He's going to go down in history as one of the best heavyweights. I think people want to see the best fight the best and that's a fight that can still happen. 

"People will still be very interested to see who's the best British heavyweight there is."

Speaking after his surprise defeat in London at the weekend, Joshua said he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch with Usyk to win back his belts.

Despite the manner of the defeat, Parker has backed Joshua to put up a far stronger performance if he does step back into the ring with Usyk.

"I was a little surprised by the defeat," Parker said. "I mean, a lot of other people called it a 50-50 fight, a lot of people said it was going to be a tear up for AJ to win. 

"But Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, is to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua followed up his victory over Parker, which saw him retain his WBA, IBF and IBO belts and win the WBO title, with a knockout triumph over Alexander Povetkin.

The Briton has lost two of his following four fights, however, giving him a record of 24-2 and leading to inevitable suggestions that his career is now declining.

But Parker said: "It's hard to say if that's the case. From when I fought him, he's had a couple of wins, a loss to Ruiz and come back and beat him again.

"He's saying that he's improving and getting better, but maybe he just was faced with a fighter who was just different, you know, in his element. 

"When you see Usyk, with the footwork and the movement - he didn't really allow AJ to land his shots and catch him. He was just in and out and just very smart."

Anthony Joshua says he would still fight Tyson Fury without being a world champion after he was emphatically dethroned by Oleksandr Usyk.

Usyk outclassed Joshua at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to take the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.

Joshua had no answer to the unbeaten Ukrainian, who secured a masterful unanimous decision victory and looked like stopping the Briton in the final round.

A rematch with the 19-0 Usyk could be on the cards for Joshua rather than a unification bout with Fury after he suffered the second defeat of his professional career on home soil.

The 31-year-old declared that he would be eager to fight his compatriot Fury, who faces a third clash with Deontay Wilder on October 9, regardless of whether he has any belts to put on the line.

"The road to undisputed and all that stuff, it's good," said Joshua, who suffered a badly swollen right eye in his loss in London.

"As I said, I'll fight Tyson Fury, Wilder, without the belts. The belts are fun. It's great, it's legacy. But with or without the belts, I'll fight whoever.

"The road to undisputed is a nice title to have and a nice title to chase.

"But would you still watch it, without the belts? That's the main thing – is you've got two competitive fighters in the ring from UK soil, that just want to go toe-to-toe.!

Asked if he would want a rematch with Usyk, Joshua said: "100 per cent. 110 per cent.

"I'm ready to get back to training. Because of the 12 rounds, my lungs and everything, it was a good 12-rounder, so I'll be in a good place when I get back into training to pick up where we left off."

Anthony Joshua wants an immediate rematch with Oleksandr Usyk after being dethroned in their heavyweight bout, while the British star was upbeat despite the surprise defeat.

Joshua was stripped of his IBF, WBA and WBO titles by Usyk, who scored a unanimous points decision in just his third fight since stepping up to heavyweight in London on Saturday.

Usyk – a former undisputed cruiserweight champion – handed Joshua his second career loss, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 before reclaiming the belts in their rematch.

Joshua is hoping to do so again with Usyk after falling to 24-2 in front of more than 66,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"A 100 per cent, a 110 per cent," Joshua said during his post-fight news conference.

"I'm ready to get back to training. Because I did 12 rounds, my lungs, and everything... I'll be in a good place even I get back to training and pick up where we left off."

Joshua had hoped to be taking on WBC holder Tyson Fury in a lucrative showdown to decide an undisputed champion in the heavyweight division, but that plan was scuppered when his rival was ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time instead. 

Usyk was the back-up option picked to bridge the gap, the mandatory challenger coming with a superb pedigree but limited experience at heavyweight. 

Unbeaten as he improved to 19-0, Usyk's southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and a flurry of punches left his star opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

"It's a great lesson today. It was a great lesson," Joshua told reporters.

"I know, we can look at it from a negative point of view, but for me, I gotta take it as a great lesson and build on that situation... I'm not a weak person. I don't want to be in my bedroom sulking about the situation.

"I'm looking at it like a great lesson, go back, study and rejuvenate myself because nobody's gonna do it for me."

Anthony Joshua will need to make some "big changes" if he wants to avenge his points defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, according to Eddie Hearn.

In just his third fight since stepping up to heavyweight, the unbeaten Usyk produced a clinical performance to beat home favourite Joshua in London and claim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.

The Ukrainian's crisp punching and classy footwork saw him deservedly get the nod from all three judges at ringside, improving his record to 19-0 as a professional, having already been the undisputed champion in the cruiserweight division, too.

Joshua did not immediately give an in-ring interview in the aftermath of just a second career defeat, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York in June 2019.

The Briton bounced back to reclaim his belts from the same opponent and could opt to try to do the same again with Usyk, though Hearn feels the tactics will need to be different if the outcome is to change second time around.

"Congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk, what a fighter. He put in a great performance tonight and the better man won," the promoter told Sky Sports.

"It was really the danger of the fight, you overthink it and try to be too technical and don't make your mark early enough in the fight. Usyk is very fit, has great feet and threw a lot of punches in there.  

"It was all the things you worry about against a fighter like Usyk. He exercised his style very, very well, was probably a bit more aggressive than anticipated. He was really good tonight and goes down in history. 

"No complaints from AJ, he will get up and go again. He is already talking about training again on Monday, but this is a tough defeat.

"This was getting beat by a pound-for-pound fighter. We've been here before in Madison Square Garden, but that was different. This is just being beaten by a better man on the night. 

"You have to make some big changes in the rematch to avenge that defeat."

Hearn added: "Usyk was the deserved winner and if that happens again, he [Joshua] gets beaten. He's got to impose himself early, though it's going to be difficult because Usyk's confidence is going to be sky high.  

"When you get to the level that Joshua has, as we saw after the Ruiz defeat, there is no 10-round comeback fights, no warm-ups. You go straight back in. 

"He will want to go straight into that rematch. He will be an underdog after tonight, but this is what he does. He chose to take on a pound-for-pound great and deserves credit for that."

Joshua had seemingly been set to face Tyson Fury, only for that unification showdown to be scuppered by an arbitration ruling.

WBC champion Fury was ordered to take on Deontay Wilder for a third time instead, with that trilogy bout booked for October 9 in Las Vegas. 

While a future showdown with Fury may be off the table for now, Hearn made clear that Joshua has lost none of his desire, despite what he described as an "average" display against Usyk.

"He lives and breathes boxing. Boxing saved him, boxing made him - he won't fall out of love with the game," Hearn stated.

"When you do, it's time to walk away from the sport. The desire is still there, it will be there, but you can have that, you've got to be good enough. 

"He will know when he watches that back. That, for me, was an average performance from Joshua. He can do so much better in that fight, but this is what happens in this sport. You can criticise him but he's facing the best consistently."

Oleksandr Usyk produced a boxing masterclass to sensationally dethrone Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, completely altering the heavyweight landscape in the process. 

Usyk maintained his unbeaten record as a professional by outsmarting and outclassing the home favourite for the vast majority of their 12-round contest, rightly earning a unanimous points triumph to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles on Saturday.

Joshua started slowly and simply never managed to catch up. While there were bright spells for the defending champion around the midway stage, he faded badly down the stretch having struggled to ever impose himself. 

Usyk even threatened to force a late stoppage as the Ukrainian came on strong in the closing rounds, yet he eventually settled for a comfortable win on the scorecards. The three judges scored it 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in his favour. 

"The fight went exactly the way I expected it to go,” Usyk said in his post-fight interview with DAZN. 

"There were times when Anthony pushed me hard but nothing special. I had no objective to knock him out. My corner pushed me not to do that."

Joshua had hoped to be taking on WBC title holder Tyson Fury in a lucrative showdown to decide an undisputed champion in the division, only for that plan to be scuppered when his rival was ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time instead. 

Usyk was the back-up option picked to bridge the gap, the mandatory challenger with the WBO holder coming with a superb pedigree but limited experience at heavyweight. 

Still, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion was undeterred by giving away both a height and weight advantage. Elusive from the outset, his southpaw stance and smooth footwork bamboozled a plodding Joshua. 

Straight lefts landed with unerring accuracy, though by the halfway stage it appeared the Briton had begun to work out a method to counter what he was up against. 

However, it proved to be a false dawn for Joshua, the composed Usyk undoubtedly finishing the stronger of the two, including an impressive 11th round that saw him land consistently before a finale that saw Joshua at times appearing ready to buckle. 

While he did make it through to the final bell on his feet, the verdict was clear: Usyk had stunned both his opponent and a partisan crowd to be crowned in the English capital.

Anthony Joshua has no intention of making things "too complicated" when he defends his world heavyweight titles against the unbeaten Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.  

The reigning IBF, WBA and WBO champion looked in excellent condition as he weighed in on Friday, tipping the scales at 240 pounds – a fraction lighter than for his previous fight, against Kubrat Pulev, at the end of 2020.

Joshua was always going to have a height and weight advantage coming into an intriguing contest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, even if Usyk did come in at a career-high 221.25 pounds.

It is just a third outing at heavyweight for the Ukrainian, who was previously the undisputed champion at cruiserweight before moving up. His boxing abilities should not be doubted, considering his achievements as an amateur as well, but after taking on Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora previously, he is about to jump back in at the deep end nearly a year on from his last bout.

The physical differences further increase the intrigue over how each man will approach the occasion, as two fighters who struck gold at the London Olympics in 2012 meet in the English capital.

"It's called a boxing match for a reason. I love the sweet science. I will display my boxing skills, but I won't make it too complicated in there," Joshua said at the final news conference.

This, of course, was not the fight the 31-year-old had expected to be next on his agenda. A deal was in place to take on Tyson Fury to reveal a new undisputed champion, but the holder of the WBC title has been ordered to take on Deontay Wilder for a third time instead.

That trilogy bout takes place on October 9 in Las Vegas, a hurdle Fury will likely have to clear if we are to see the all-British showdown that has been teased for too long, amid lengthy negotiations, social media sparring and arbitration hearings.

Before then, though, Joshua must focus on the task at hand. Usyk, the mandatory challenger for the WBO strap, is not an opponent to be taken lightly either, even if he weighed considerably less on the scales.

The result is all that matters for Joshua, who knows just what is at stake. Unlike his opponent, Usyk has little to lose – apart from that unblemished record in the pros – and everything to gain, having received the chance to spring the type of surprise that would seismically alter the heavyweight landscape.

The pair took part in a tense head-to-head showdown after weighing in, though they did share a handshake and a smile before parting ways. Respectful during the build-up, it will be down to business when they next come face to face with each other.

RECENT HISTORY

Joshua finished an otherwise quiet 2020 in style, stopping the ever-willing but overmatched Pulev inside nine rounds in his solitary outing during the year. A small number of fans were present inside Wembley Arena amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there will be far more in attendance at the impressive home of Spurs this weekend.

That Pulev bout came just over a year after Joshua's revenge mission against Andy Ruiz Jr, when he boxed intelligently to regain the titles he had lost against the same opponent midway through 2019 in a stunning upset on his American debut.

As for Usyk, he came through a gruelling physical test against Chisora, winning their October 2020 meeting by unanimous decision on the scorecards.

Chisora, who was left "gutted" by the final verdict, was asked in the aftermath if he felt his opponent had shown him enough to be able to beat one of the big names in the division, to which he replied: "No, because in the heavyweight game, you have to fight, not box."

TALE OF THE TAPE 

ANTHONY JOSHUA

Age: 31
Height: 6ft 6ins (198cm)
Weight: 240lbs
Reach: 82ins
Professional record: 24-1 (22 KOs)
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight

OLEKSANDR USYK

Age: 34
Height: 6ft 3ins (191cm) 
Weight: 221.25lbs
Reach: 78ins  
Professional record: 18-0 (13 KOs) 
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight

Anthony Joshua is relishing the chance to fight Oleksandr Usyk in London and said he would "give it a go" against King Kong for the love of the sport.

The IBF, WBA and WBO belts will be on the line when the Ukrainian faces the heavyweight champion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Usyk came to Thursday's pre-fight media event dressed like The Joker, but the formalities were very professional as the pair faced off and shook hands in a respectful, if intense, manner.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk, 34, might be facing a height and weight disadvantage, but Joshua has plenty of admiration for a fighter he is excited to face.

"I wasn't on the amateur scene long enough to know much about Oleksandr but when I turned professional I did a lot of research and I love the Ukrainian style and the Ukrainian people," he said.

"He was fighting 10 or 12 years as an amateur before he went to the Olympics and worlds, so he is probably happy to be in this position – the cream always rises to the top.

"I love throwback fighters. I do watch a lot of boxing and I don't fight good people just to get respect.

"If you tell me I was fighting King Kong, I would give it a go. This is my job. I'm going to work. It's the best days of my life.

"I work hard to make sure boxing is really respected, and I pay them back by putting in a lot of work in the gym.

"I'm not an easy fight for anyone, I like fighting. God has blessed me, shown me the path to get into boxing. I'm here, blessed, happy and don't take it for granted."

Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk described Joshua as "the best in the division" with "the heart of a warrior", although he warned the Briton he was facing the toughest fight of his career.

"I can do a lot more," Usyk said through an interpreter. "I feel fine, and I look forward to this. I want to thank the team and Eddie Hearn, and I'm grateful this is happening on Saturday.

"Every fight makes history and I think me and Anthony will make another step in history, something that people will be talking about, remember and will be watching on television."

Oleksandr Usyk will aim to make the most of his opportunity on Saturday, with the Ukrainian looking to upset the odds and dethrone Anthony Joshua in London. 

Already holding the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, heavyweight Joshua appeared set for a hugely lucrative unification showdown with Tyson Fury, holder of the WBC belt, that would identify an undisputed champion in the division. 

An arbitration hearing put paid to that plan, though, as Fury was ordered to face Deontay Wilder for a third time, denying boxing fans the fight they desperately wanted to see. 

However, Usyk is an intriguing prospect for Joshua to deal with. Dominant at cruiserweight before stepping up, the 34-year-old has the potential to cause problems, considering both his boxing skills and outstanding resume. 

Britain may dominate right now, but fighters from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics have ruled the roost at different times, albeit with varying degrees of longevity.  

 

VITALI KLITSCHKO

The baton passed from the famed heavyweights of the 1990s to the coming generation when Lennox Lewis uncharacteristically slugged his way to victory over Vitali Klitschko in Los Angeles in June 2003. The last man standing from his era after comprehensively beating Mike Tyson, Lewis was given hell by "Dr Steelhammer" but managed to inflict enough damage for the challenger to be stopped on cuts after six gruelling rounds.

Lewis never boxed again and Klitschko never lost again, winning 13 fights in succession either side of a four-year retirement. He lifted the WBC title and settled a family grudge by stopping Corrie Sanders in April 2004. He was never without the famous green belt in the ring up until he hung up his gloves in 2012 to focus full-time on a political career than now sees Vitali serving at the Mayor of Kyiv.

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO

The younger Klitschko was the first eastern European to lift a heavyweight title in the 21st century when he twice floored Chris Byrd on the way to a unanimous decision to win the WBO belt in October 2000. Byrd became champion in his previous fight when, way down on the cards, Vitali withdrew on his stool due to a shoulder injury. It meant Vitali was returning a favour against Sanders, who demolished Wladimir over two harrowing rounds in March 2003.

Another knockout loss followed a little over a year with the vacant WBO strap on the line against Lamon Brewster. At that stage, it was impossible to foresee the imperious dominance that would follow a second win over Byrd for the IBF and 18 successful defences. Closing out his career with losses to Fury and Joshua carried a heavy sense changing eras, as with his brother and Lewis a decade and a half earlier.

NIKOLAI VALUEV

All the men on this list could lay claim to the moniker of "Beast from the East" but none would be able to pull it off as well as the preposterously proportioned Valuev. Standing at 7ft and tipping the scales at over 300lbs, he became the tallest and heaviest heavyweight champion in history. Valuev's skills were akin to a rudimentary club fighter, but he was just far too big for most opponents to handle.

Each of his two stints as WBA ruler began with prophetically forgettable points wins over John Ruiz and after a 2008 loss to a pot-shotting David Haye he walked away to a varied post-fight career. Like Klitschko he entered politics, winning election to the State Duma in Russia's 2011 parliamentary election. He also became an unlikely face of children's television in his homeland, presenting the long-running "Good Night, Little Ones!".

SIARHEI LIAKHOVICH

Liakhovich's period reign as WBO champion lasted seven months. The Belarusian won a unanimous decision win over Brewster in April 2006, despite taking a knee in the seventh. He was up on the cards when Shannon Briggs dramatically knocked him through the ropes during the closing seconds of his first defence. Briggs was the last American to get his hands on any portion of the heavyweight title before Wilder's WBC reign began in 2015. Two years earlier, the "Bronze Bomber" left Liakhovich quivering on the canvas after a terrifying first-round KO.

OLEG MASKAEV

Three months before Briggs' late show against Liakhovich, Maskaev battered one-time Lewis conqueror Hasim Rahman to defeat inside the final minute of their August 2006 rematch in Las Vegas. A product of the Soviet amateur system, Maskaev based himself in the US for the majority of his professional career. He was 37 by the time he ripped the WBC crown from Rahman and, after a successful defence against Okello Peter in Moscow, the Kazakh-born fighter was knocked out by Samuel Peter - the "Nigerian Nightmare" who was himself stopped by a returning Vitali Klitschko next time out.

RUSLAN CHAGAEV

If the WBA was a sofa, Chagaev would be the loose change they continue to find lurking between the cushions. He first won the organisation's belt with a majority decision win over Valuev in April 2007, although subsequent illness and injury led to him being declared "champion in recess". As such, the WBA belt was not on the line when his corner waved off a June 2009 shellacking at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko after nine rounds.

The organisation then elected to install Chagaev not as its champion but number one challenger, and he dropped an August 2011 decision to Alexander Povetkin for the vacant belt. The story did not end there, however, as Chagaev and the unheralded Fres Oquendo were selected to box for the WBA's vacant "regular" title in July 2014. Almost two years and one competitive round later, Chagaev was knocked out by Lucas Browne, who then failed a drugs test. The Uzbek was given back his title, only to be stripped in July 2016 for failing to pay the WBA sanctioning fees for that already barely remembered Oquendo contest, seemingly ending the saga.

SULTAN IBRAGIMOV

Not one to linger like Chagaev, Russia's Sydney 2000 heavyweight silver medallist Ibragimov outpointed Briggs in his 22nd professional bout to lift the WBO belt in June 2007. Under the tutelage of Jeff Mayweather, he comfortably beat the great Evander Holyfield in his first defence. A unification showdown with Wladimir Klitschko was most notable for the Madison Square Garden crowd booing a safety-first affair. With that sole defeat, Ibragimov was gone, retiring in 2009 due to persistent injuries to his left hand.

ALEXANDER POVETKIN

Another decorated amateur, Povetkin won super-heavyweight gold at the 2004 Olympics and made four defences of the WBA title after beating Chagaev. To repeat a theme, all roads led to an uncompromising Klitschko, with Wladimir sending him to the canvas four times during a landslide Moscow triumph in October 2013. Failed drugs tests did little for Povetkin's wider reputation and put paid to a proposed meeting with Wilder.

A promising start unravelled to a seventh-round stoppage when challenging Joshua in September 2018, although Povetkin sensationally recovered from two knockdowns to ice Dillian Whyte this year. After losing the rematch, the Russian announced his retirement at the age of 41.

Anthony Joshua insists he has no specific game plan for his fight with Oleksandr Usyk, other than to win.

Joshua returns to action against former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Usyk, who has 13 knockouts from his 18 professional victories, has only previously fought twice against a heavyweight.

While the Ukrainian has insisted the pressure is all on Joshua, the reigning IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion says he has no particular strategy heading into the bout.

"I'm in there with the ultimate aim of winning. My goal is to either hurt you or beat you until I get the win," Joshua told Sky Sports.

"Whether it's the right hand, the uppercut or the jab... As long as it leads to a win. I could box on the front foot or the back foot. There is no real strategy except for winning."

Usyk beat Derek Chisora on points in London last year, while the 34-year-old has also previously defeated Tony Bellew on English soil.

"I'm physically conditioned and mentally conditioned. I should be fine. It's a big occasion, big pressure," continued Joshua, who had been set to face Tyson Fury before talks broke down due to the latter having to face Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout.

"Bellew was at a different stage of his career when he took the fight. I'm at a different stage. So, what it means to me is different to what it meant to Bellew.

"Bellew put up a really good fight, and he came up short, which can happen in boxing. I will do everything to reverse what happened to Bellew and make it into my favour."

If Joshua and Fury both win their respective fights, then a heavyweight title bout could be on the cards yet again.

"I feel like I've got nothing else if I don't get this win," said Joshua. "It's not the end of the road but it's the start of a new chapter."

Usyk, meanwhile, insisted he will feel no anxiety in the hours leading up to the fight.

"The lack of nerves will help me," he told the Guardian. "I am not going to be nervous. Why would I be? It would not change anything. I will not get stronger, only weaker.

"I will be calm and confident and probably read a book before or watch a film and speak to my loved ones or my son. I am not going to do nerves at all."

Anthony Joshua will defend his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.

Joshua had been in negotiations to face Tyson Fury in an all-British blockbuster but an arbitration hearing ruled Deontay Wilder had a contractual right to face the WBC champion for a third time.

Fury and Wilder's trilogy showdown was set to take place this weekend before the 'Gypsy King' tested positive for coronavirus.

That bout has now been shifted to October 9 in Las Vegas, meaning Joshua will have another chance to impress before his heavyweight rivals step out again.

That is not to say looking ahead to future contests would be wise for the 31-year-old, given the exceptionally skilled Usyk is intent on cleaning up at heavyweight as he did in the 200lbs division and boasts a professional record of 18 victories and no defeats.

Joshua avenged his shock loss to Andy Ruiz with a lopsided points win over the Mexican-American in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2019. The sole defence of his second reign as champion came with a dominant ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, before Joshua's latest period of Fury-based frustration began.

Usyk has previously enjoyed success in the UK, both when he knocked out Tony Bellew in his final fight at cruiserweight and outpointed the veteran Dereck Chisora last year.

The Ukrainian also won heavyweight gold at London 2012, where Joshua triumphed at super-heavyweight. Indeed, this will be the first professional meeting between men who won Olympic gold medals in those respective categories.

"We are two Olympic gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges," Joshua said.

"The stadium is exceptional, the atmosphere will be electric. I'm honoured to be the first person to fight in such an awe-inspiring venue. The stage is set and I am ready to handle business."

Joshua's stadium shows have become a fixture of UK boxing in the modern era.

He stopped Wladimir Klitschko in a thrilling Wembley contest in April 2017 before a September 2018 KO of Alexander Povetkin at the same venue – a fight for which Usyk was in attendance.

In between those triumphs, he beat Carlos Takam and then-WBO champion Joseph Parker at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

In his sole remarks around the fight announcement, Usyk cryptically said: "The path will be mastered by the walking one."

Eddie Hearn has confirmed that September 25 will be the date for Anthony Joshua's fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

The WBO ordered Joshua to step into the fight with former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk as a proposed all-British heavyweight battle with Tyson Fury fell through.

IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua was due to take on Fury in Saudi Arabia in August before a court arbitration in the United States ruled the WBC strap-holder must face Deontay Wilder for a third time.

With Fury and Wilder III set to be staged in Las Vegas on July 24, Joshua (24-1) will come up against Ukrainian Usyk (18-0) two months later.

Joshua's promoter Hearn did not reveal a venue for the bout, but revealed during an Instagram live chat: "Working towards September 18 or September 25."

The Matchroom boss added: "Joshua-Usyk announcement? Don't want to say two weeks, 'cos you guys are bored of me saying that, but soon - September 25 is the date."

Joshua this week vowed a showdown with Fury is still on the cards.

"Unfortunately, his [Fury's] team let the whole boxing world down," Joshua told Sky Sports. "I will still be here, still ready to put on a show.

"[The Fury fight can happen at the] end of the year. Let me get past Usyk first. But with or without Usyk in my life, I will fight Fury.

"Usyk isn't the be-all and end-all. Usyk doesn't determine the Fury fight. The Fury fight has to happen. It's a big fight, bigger than boxing, bigger than the belts.

"It will happen. After the Usyk fight, after I defend my belts. The fight will be bigger, better than what it would have been."

Josh Taylor is ready to "ride the wave" after becoming the fifth undisputed world champion of the four-belt era – and that could mean facing Terence Crawford and, he hopes, fighting at Edinburgh Castle.

A mammoth clash between Taylor and Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas on Saturday saw the Briton twice knock down his opponent.

Those blows were pivotal in a unanimous but tight points win that saw all three judges score the bout 114-112 in Taylor's favour.

The 30-year-old protected his WBA and IBF light welterweight titles and added Ramirez's WBC and WBO straps.

Since 2004, only four other boxers have held the four major belts at once – Oleksandr Usyk, Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor and Crawford – and Taylor could now face one of them.

Crawford was the undisputed champion in the same division in 2017 after beating Julius Indongo, before vacating his titles to move up to welterweight.

It is a move Taylor (18-0) could repeat in order to face the undefeated American, who now holds the WBO strap at 147 pounds.

"I think two undisputed champions going at it at 147lb would be awesome, would be amazing," Taylor said.

"I'm not going to be short of options now; every fight is going to be huge. We'll take it and see what comes my way. We'll just ride the wave."

The locations of potential future fights are as exciting to Taylor as the opponents, though.

'The Tartan Tornado' was born in Prestonpans but has not fought in Edinburgh since November 2017.

His place in history secure, Taylor, a Hibernian fan, would now be keen to arrange a title bout either at Easter Road or the "iconic" Edinburgh Castle.

"Now is the time to get that fight at Edinburgh Castle or Easter Road," he said.

"I know Easter Road are going to be up for having me there and they've said it to me a few times.

"But I'd love to fight at Edinburgh Castle. I just think that would be iconic with the castle lit up in the background."

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