ANTHONY JOSHUA will fight Oleksandr Usyk or Kubrat Pulev – pushing back any unification showdown with Deontay Wilder.
Three-title world heavyweight king Joshua seems certain to face a tougher night then than against rank outsider Andy Ruiz Jr in his American debut at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
But many boxing fans had hoped he would meet the USA’s WBC champion Wilder before the year ends.
Instead promoter Eddie Hearn says AJ will take on either Ukraine’s former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk or Buglarian Pulev, ranked No1 by the IBF.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Wilder has signed for a re-match with Cuban veteran Luis Ortiz.
That has left fans and pundits frustrated after they were keen to see Yank Wilder face Joshua or have a reunion with Tyson fury in the next few months.
Joshua, though, claims he expected Wilder to duck such bouts – and believes, if they do eventually meet, it is the Yank who will regret the delay most.
AJ, 29, said: “Since 2013 when I turned pro, probably after my third fight, they were asking when I’d fight Wladimir Klitschko. That’s what’s weird.
“It’s true, there has always been pressure on me and I feel that.
“Believe me, I’d rather fight Wilder in two years because I know I’ll get better.
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But Wilder, who stopped Ortiz in their first meeting in March last year, insists he is simply settling scores one by one.
He said: “To all my fans, I want to announce that Luis Ortiz and I have signed for a rematch, with the date and site to be announced shortly.
“All my controversial fights must get dealt with ASAP.”