ANTHONY JOSHUA and Oleksandr Usyk could finalise terms to fight by the end of the week with ‘most issues now agreed’.
Joshua was ordered to face mandatory challenger Usyk by the WBO after his undisputed title decider with Tyson Fury collapsed.
His promoter Eddie Hearn revealed talks were progressing well for the pair to fight in September, with Tottenham’s stadium the likely venue.
Usyk had publicly demanded more money from Hearn, but his promoter Alexander Krassyuk insisted a deal is now imminent.
Krassyuk told Sky Sports: “We hope that we will sign the contract by the end of the week. Most of the issues have been coordinated and agreed.
“Usyk’s confidence is at sky level.”
Joshua, 31, was initially lined up for a unification with WBC champion Fury, 32, on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
It came after the Gypsy King walked away from a trilogy bout with Deontay Wilder, believing the immediate rematch clause expired.
Wilder, 35, then took his case to arbitration and after months of mediation the judge ruled in his favour.
To avoid another legal battle or paying step aside money, Fury agreed to a trilogy, with the pair signed to fight on July 24 in America.
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It left Joshua out in the cold and forced to line up southpaw Usyk, 34, who became his mandatory after stepping up to heavyweight.
But Hearn reassured that AJ is not dwelling on the past, as his focus switched to his new southpaw opponent.
He told DAZN: “I can tell you that this week, that this is a more confident footing than the Joshua – Fury negotiations, because I know Alex Krassyuk very well, and I know Usyk very well.
“This week that fight will be signed. We’re looking at September in London. Just finalising the details.
“It’s a great fight, a dangerous fight, it’s not the one we necessarily wanted or expected. But it’s a high level heavyweight fight.
“It’s a unified heavyweight champion against the undisputed cruiserweight champion, and on we go with that fight – it’s a big event.”