Usyk targets Joshua fight after Bellew

A dream bout with Anthony Joshua is one of the reasons why Oleksandr Usyk has agreed to fight Tony Bellew, says the Ukrainian fighter.

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Usyk and Bellew go head to head at the Manchester Arena on November 10, when the 31-year-old southpaw will defend his four world titles in what promoter Eddie Hearn has described as “the fight of 2018”.

Nicknamed ‘The Cat’, Usyk has already won twice on English soil – including a gold medal at the London Olympic Games in 2012 – and the undisputed world cruiserweight champion is the firm favourite to beat the Liverpudlian.

He is already planning his next fight with Joshua, who retained his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles with a devastating knockout of Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.

“One reason we have agreed to fight Bellew is to get to Joshua,” Usyk told The Sun.

“It is exactly part of the strategy and why we have this co-operation with Eddie Hearn.

“He has Tony, he has Anthony, he has Dillian Whyte and a couple more heavyweights.

“It’s the best way, the shortest – not the easiest – way to fight Anthony.”

Hearn insists Joshua is “100 per cent” focused on fighting fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder next, and is hopeful a deal can be agreed in the coming weeks.

Wilder, meanwhile, is set to defend his WBC title against Tyson Fury on December 1.