Is cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk the real threat to Anthony Joshua's heavyweight crown?

Usyk secured his place in the WBSS final with victory over and Briedis. Toms Kalnins/EPA

Oleksandr Usyk may have unfinished business in the cruiserweight division but he is already talking about fighting Anthony Joshua.

Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) had his hardest test yet last Saturday, but he displayed impressive skills, stamina, heart and boxing IQ for a deserved majority decision over Mairis Briedis (23-1, 18 KOs).

He will now face either Russia's Murat Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) or Florida-based Cuban Yunier Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs), who fight Saturday for the IBF and WBA belts, in the final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) -- an eight-man elimination tournament -- in May.

The WBSS has given Usyk the chance to become the first undisputed world cruiserweight champion since Evander Holyfield 30 years ago and the perfect launch pad for a career at heavyweight.

Collision course with Joshua

Usyk won Olympic gold in London 2012 Olympics, similar to Joshua who won gold at super-heavyweight.

They avoided each other then because they operated in different weight divisions, as they are now, but for how much longer?

"I will move up to heavyweight and show them all how good I am," Usyk told Sky Sports.

"I think you can see yourself, I will fight him [Joshua]. Not yet though. But it is a question everybody keeps asking me, so once we go face to face, we will find out. It will be good."

Usyk will have to beat heavier men to succeed

The Ukrainian moves well around the ring while unloading shots with fast hands, which will trouble bigger and slower heavyweights.

But the disadvantage Usyk will have against naturally bigger men -- like Joshua or WBC champion Deontay Wilder -- is the difference in power. Joshua has knocked out all 20 professional opponents; American Wilder has blitzed 38 of his 39 professional victims.

Joshua was 254 pounds in his last fight, which is a bigger difference to Usyk who weighed in last weekend just over 199 lbs, as well as being three inches smaller than the Briton.

Usyk has said he will not pile on the pounds to become a heavyweight, aiming for 220lbs.

Smaller men can be the Real Deal at heavyweight

Evander Holyfield, known at The Real Deal, won a bronze light-heavyweight medal at the 1984 Olympics before turning professional a year later.

In 1986, he then won the WBA world cruiserweight title and within two years captured the other two [IBF and WBC] belts. On becoming undisputed world cruiserweight champion in 1988, Holyfield quit the division to pursue a fight against world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

He weighed 202 pounds for his first heavyweight fight and was eight pounds heavier two years later when he knocked out James 'Buster' Douglas, who beat Tyson for the belts, to become undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1990.

Usyk has already beat Holyfield's record for being the quickest to become a world cruiserweight champion. Holyfield did it in his professional 12th fight, while Usyk managed it in his 10th.

"In the beginning, somebody told me there was a record in the cruiserweight division where Evander Holyfield became the champion," Usyk said in April last year.

"I thought about that and I told my team, 'let's make our own history, our own record, to beat Holyfield's record.' That was the plan and no, I was not surprised. I was very happy. I prepared for that championship bout."

David Haye also successfully stepped up from being a world cruiserweight champion to heavyweight. The Briton was an incredible 99lbs lighter and nearly a foot smaller than Russia's Nicolay Valuev, yet still won the WBA heavyweight title by a majority points decision in Germany in 2009.

Usyk has got pedigree

As well as being an Olympic gold medallist at heavyweight, Usyk has a strong team behind him both inside and outside the ropes.

Usyk hired Anatoly Lomachenko, who also trains his son and WBO super-featherweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, last year. It is a good environment for him to be around as two-weight world champion Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs), 29, is considered one of boxing's best pound-for-pound fighters and perhaps the sport's most technically skilled boxer.

Usyk is promoted by K2 Promotions, the promotional company of former world heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, both from Ukraine. K2 also promote world middleweight No.1 Gennady Golovkin.

Fighting for a cause

Usyk also has the charisma, personality and a fascinating backstory to make it interesting in the heavyweight division.

The father-of-three is from Crimea, a region annexed by Russia in 2014 a year after Usyk turned professional.

Usyk's home city is Simferopol but, with the Crimean peninsula's status disputed between Russia and Ukraine, he now lives in Kiev.

In 2014, he declared he would never accept Russian citizenship and in October he visited Ukrainian guards on the eastern border.

His haircuts -- shaved on the sides with a longer lock of hair on top -- are traditional and a sign of his patriotism.

But Usyk has shown an international outlook to his career. His next fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia will be the sixth different country he has fought in.