BOB ARUM admits he’ll be ‘rooting’ for Oleksandr Usyk to win his upcoming showdown with Anthony Joshua, despite an undisputed title fight with Tyson Fury still being in the offing.
Former undisputed cruiserweight king Usyk will challenge Joshua for the unified heavyweight titles next month at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
AJ will move a step closer to a long-awaited Battle of Britain with rival Fury should he see off the undefeated Ukrainian.
But Arum, Fury’s co-promoter, is hoping for a huge upset, telling Sky Sports: ‘Usyk is a friend of mine because he is Vasiliy Lomachenko’s friend.
“He is a terrific guy, funny, articulate and smart. It is against my economic interest, but I will be rooting for him in the fight! I just can’t help myself.”
Despite wanting to see Usyk become a two-division champion, Arum reckons The Cat faces an uphill task to dethrone Joshua.
The 89-year-old said: “This is a new era.
“We have never seen heavyweights of the size that we see now.
“We’ve never seen a guy of 6’9” like Tyson fight the way he does. Or Joshua. They are all huge.
“Evander Holyfield was a light-heavyweight, then a cruiserweight, then a great heavyweight.
“Other than Riddick Bowe there weren’t many big guys that he fought.
“Mike Tyson was relatively little.
“In ordinary times a guy like Usyk, against a 6’2” heavyweight, has a really good shot.
“But against a massive guy like Joshua? It may be a bridge too far.”
Usyk’s stopping power at heavyweight has been questioned following his wins over Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora.
JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET A FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100s OF GAMES TO PLAY AND NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs apply)
But former foe Tony Bellew insists the Olympic gold medallist possesses enough power to trouble Joshua.
During an appearance on The DAZN Boxing Show, The Bomber, who was knocked by Usyk in October 2019, said: “Believe you me mate, he hits hard enough to send me down.
“He’s exceptional. He’s the best I ever faced. He is so technically perfect. His footwork is on another level.”