Deontay Wilder Ready to Face Oleksandr Usyk, Says Manager Shelly Finkel
Former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is eager to take on current WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, according to his manager Shelly Finkel.
Usyk was originally in talks to fight WBC champion Tyson Fury, but those negotiations have fallen through, leaving the door open for a potential Wilder match-up.
"If the Usyk fight is available, Deontay will take it in a heartbeat," Finkel told Sky Sports. Wilder's head trainer, Malik Scott, is also confident in his fighter's ability to knock out Usyk, stating that "Deontay is the hardest puncher in the history of the sport."
However, Usyk has three mandatory obligations to fulfill before a Wilder fight can be arranged. First, he must face WBA "regular" champion Daniel Dubois, as ordered by the sanctioning body. Then, he is likely to defend his title against IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic. Finally, he must contend with WBO mandatory challenger Joe Joyce, who needs to win an upcoming fight to maintain his mandatory position.
Meanwhile, Wilder was previously in talks for a WBC final eliminator against former unified champion Andy Ruiz, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. It remains to be seen whether a Wilder-Usyk fight can be arranged amidst Usyk's mandatory obligations, but Wilder's team appears to be ready and willing for the challenge.