Unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua isn't the only significant Matchroom Boxing fighter headed to the United States for his next bout. Also on the way are undisputed cruiserweight world champion and consensus 2018 fighter of the year Oleksandr Usyk and former welterweight world titlist Kell Brook, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN on Friday.
The American debut of Joshua, the British superstar, was made official Thursday with the announcement that his seventh title defense will come against Brooklyn, New York, contender Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller on June 1 (DAZN) at Madison Square Garden in New York, where Friday's ticket pre-sale broke the building's boxing record.
Hearn said he is making plans for both Usyk and Brook to come stateside for significant fights that would also be streamed by DAZN. Hearn said he is working on Usyk against Alexander Povetkin and Brook against Jessie Vargas.
Hearn said May 18 is the target date, with Chicago as a possible location, for the southpaw Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs), 32, of Ukraine, to face contender Povetkin (34-2, 24 KOs), 39, of Russia, in a fight that would mark Usyk's official entrance into the heavyweight division.
Usyk won the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament in July by unifying all four major belts with his one-sided decision over Murat Gassiev in Moscow in the final. Not long after that fight, Usyk and K2 Promotions signed a co-promotional deal with Hearn, and Usyk defended the undisputed title by crushing eighth-round knockout of former world titlist Tony Bellew in November in Manchester, England. Since Usyk turned pro, his goal was to unify the cruiserweight titles and then move up to try to do the same at heavyweight.
If the fight is finalized it would match Olympic gold-medal winners. Povetkin won the super heavyweight gold in 2004 and Usyk won the heavyweight gold in 2012.
Povetkin is coming off a seventh-round knockout loss to Joshua in a heavyweight title challenge at Wembley Stadium in London in September.
Usyk has boxed twice previously in the United States. In back-to-back title defenses, he knocked out Thabiso Mchunu in the ninth round at The Forum in Inglewood, California, in December 2016 and then won a unanimous decision against Michael Hunter at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in April 2017.
Hearn said he is also hoping to finalize the fight between Brook and Vargas -- weight to be determined but between 147 and 150 pounds -- for either late May or early June, at a location on the West Coast to be determined. Brook (38-2, 26 KOs), 32, of England, has won two fights in a row against lesser opponents since losing two fights in a row, by fifth-round knockout to Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight title in 2016 followed by an 11th-round knockout loss to Errol Spence that cost him his welterweight belt in May 207.
Brook last fought in December and was expected to next meet countryman Amir Khan this spring in a long-discussed rivalry fight. But Khan decided to pass on the offer and instead agreed to challenge Terence Crawford for his welterweight world title on April 20 in the main event of an ESPN PPV card at Madison Square Garden.
The fight with Vargas would be Brook's third bout in the U.S. He fought on the Andre Ward-Carl Froch undercard in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2011 and won his welterweight title by outpointing Shawn Porter in Carson, California, in 2014.
Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs), 29, of Las Vegas, who has won world titles at welterweight and junior welterweight, has boxed to draws in his last two fights, against Adrien Broner last April and against Thomas Dulorme in October in his first fight since signing with Hearn.