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Oleksandr Usyk beats Anthony Joshua: Who will the heavyweight champ fight next?

After picking up a big win on Saturday, we discuss who Usyk could take on next.

Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua embrace after their World Heavyweight Championship fight during the Rage on the Red Sea Heavyweight Title Fight at King Abdullah Sports City Arena on August 20, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

On Saturday night, Oleksandr scored a big win over Anthony Joshua for the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. He won by split decision taking two of the three rounds. Joshua worked the body well but started a little too late as Usyk battled back. This fight was even early, and then it wove back and forth with Usyk hanging on for the decision victory.

Now that this monster battle is over, who could he take on next? The obvious answer is Tyson Fury. The problem is that Fury remains retired as of this writing and still holds the WBC heavyweight belt preventing Usyk from being the unanimous champion. There is speculation that Fury would have come out of retirement to fight Joshua and now has a decision to either stay retired or fight Usyk. If the two do matchup, there would be a significant height mismatch, but there is a reason that Usyk is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters. It would likely be a great matchup and entertaining match as Usyk has surprised us before. Post-fight, Usyk says he wants to fight Fury and that “if I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting” (by translator).

If Fury remains retired, we could see this duo go for the trifecta. Joshua had left the ring and ended up coming back and cutting a WWE-style promo. He discussed his coming up through the boxing ranks and then hyped up Usyk. Joshua told Usyk he wants to run it back and wants the rematch for one final shot at him. We will see if he gets his wish.

Another option would be Deontay Wilder. He guaranteed that Joshua would win by knockout, which obviously didn’t happen. Now, he may need to eat those words and face Usyk in a future title opportunity. Wilder is set to face Robert Helenius at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 15. If he picks up the win in that bout, he could be in line for a shot at Usyk.

We will see how hard the champ sticks to his word. It could be Fury or bust. Or it could be the third matchup in a great series with Joshua. If he decides to take on a different challenger and Wilder loses in October, keep an eye on Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz as other options.