Oleksandr Usyk is a “serious threat”; he can “do damage” to Anthony Joshua, says Peter Fury

“Usyk belongs in the division and he's a serious threat. It's a serious fight. Full credit to Joshua for taking that fight.”

Peter Fury has warned Anthony Joshua that Oleksandr Usyk is a "serious threat" as the Ukrainian can "do damage" in the heavyweight division.

Usyk is set to be announced as Joshua's next opponent with September 25 the date expected.

His promoter - Alexander Krassyuk - has exclusively told Planet Sport that the negotiations are "done" and the fight will be made official next week.

AJ last fought in December 2020 against Kubrat Pulev after a year lay-off. The Brit was thoroughly impressive in his return as he stopped the Bulgarian in the ninth round at Wembley Arena.

Fury v Wilder III officially off

After this victory, Eddie Hearn began talks for the hotly-anticipated all-British unification bout between Joshua and Tyson Fury.

The fight was close to being announced for August in Saudi Arabia before the rub was pulled out from under the event.

This came as Deontay Wilder won his arbitration case against Fury which ruled that the Brit had to fight him before AJ or anyone else.

Fury's team refused to pay Wilder to step aside, so the unification was called off. The Gypsy King has since tested positive for COVID-19, so his fight against Wilder will now take place in October.

Usyk is the mandatory for Joshua's WBO world title, so he was the obvious plan B for the Brit. The former unified cruiserweight world champion has beaten Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora in his only two heavyweight fights so far.

Fury - who trained the Gypsy King for his world title fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 - has told Sky Sports that fighting Usyk will not be a "walk in the park":

"He's [Usyk] very dangerous," said Fury.

"It's not a walk in the park. Forget cruiserweight. This guy, he's had a couple of fights in the heavyweight division, he's adjusted, he's put the necessary weight on.

"He's a serious heavyweight and a serious talent, so it will be a good fight.

"Of course, he has [enough power to gain Joshua's respect].

"He's an accurate puncher and anybody in the fight trade knows when you're in that body weight bracket, when you're punching correctly, any punchers can do damage.

"Yes, he belongs in the division and he's a serious threat. It's a serious fight. Full credit to Joshua for taking that fight.

"I think it will ultimately be a battle of skills, because you can't run into danger. It's a fight that I'm looking forward to see. It's a great fight, a good match-up."

Anthony, I'm coming for you!

As Fury says, AJ should be commended for taking this fight as Usyk is an almighty test.

The Ukrainian is a great technician and he should stand as one of Joshua's toughest tests to date as world champion.

The Brit cannot afford to make a slow start against Usyk, because as we have seen before, the former cruiserweight champion can pick apart his opponents at will when he sets the pace.

AJ needs to establish his jab from the opening bell and chip away at his smaller opponent as the rounds progress.

He showed against Pulev that he has come on leaps and bounds to become a more rounded world champion.

Joshua will rightly be the favourite against Usyk and it should be a fascinating chess match that the Brit should come out on top of in the later rounds.

It is unclear what lays ahead for the Matchroom kingpin, though we hope that it involves Fury at some point in 2022…

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