Anthony Joshua has to be “ruthless” to beat “tough and tough” Oleksandr Usyk, promoter Eddie Hearn has warned.
Joshua is expected to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships against his mandatory challenger Usyk in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will meet for a third WBC title fight on July 24 in Las Vegas.
Hearn said Air sports on Joshua’s plans after his proposed fight with Fury failed: “We both alerted the WBO, myself and (Usyk promoter) Alex Krassyuk.
“The terms are agreed. The offer we made to them was accepted.
“We’re on paper now. We’re in the process of signing the contract with their team.
“It’s very friendly. They have been our partners for a long time.
“It’s a fight that could derail Joshua’s career if he’s not there, if he’s not 100%.
“AJ must be ruthless. He must show the [ruthlessness of] Derek Chisora with more kindness and clarity. “
Joshua and Usyk were both Olympic gold medalists in London 2012.
The undefeated Ukrainian has become the undisputed cruiserweight champion and has now increased his weight class.
“Usyk just wants the fight, he wants the opportunity to become the heavyweight champion,” Hearn said.
“[Joshua] love the fight. We all know it’s tricky, we all know it’s tough.
“But what else are we going to do?
“AJ is a flashback fighter and, for years and years, has faced all the people who [were made his mandatory challengers].
“Time and time again, AJ has never dodged a challenge.
“And that’s a real challenge. Look at the top 10 list for books, AJ is not there. Usyk is there.
“AJ wants to make a statement, these are the fights he loves.”
Joshua, in 2018, said Air sports About Usyk: “It’s not just skill-based, the heavyweight division. It’s will-based. How much can you take?
“I know he has amateur experience and has done well as a cruiserweight, but if he does make it into the heavyweight division it will also test his will as well as his skills. “