Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was an interested observer when former undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk outpointed Dereck Chisora at Wembley Arena in London on Saturday night.
The WBA, IBF and WBO champion was ringside for the fight to witness Usyk 18-0 (13) overcome a stern challenge from Chisora 32-10 (23) to win a unanimous decision by scores of 117-112, 115-113 and 115-113.
Joshua is scheduled to defend his titles against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev in December before his WBO mandatory title defence against Usyk becomes due.
“I need to see my competition in the flesh,” Joshua 23-1 (21) told Sky Sports News.
“I’m in my own training camp but it’s a good time for me to learn what else is out there.
“It’s a business opportunity. I want to come down and see what my competition is doing.
“As much as it is to support Dereck, it is to see how good my mandatory challenger will be.”
If Joshua gets past Pulev, he would like to face WBC counterpart Tyson Fury 30-0-1 (21) in a two-fight series next year.
That scenario would leave 33-year-old Ukrainian southpaw Usyk out in the cold.
“I am the mandatory for Joshua so he has two options,” Usyk told Sky Sports News.
“One: to fight me. Two: to vacate and to go and fight Fury.
“Either he fights me or relinquishes. I am waiting. I am ready.”
After defeating Chisora, Usyk made his future plans clear: “Not just world champion, the undisputed world champion.”
“Usyk is already in AJ’s head,” Usyk’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk, who works alongside Eddie Hearn, told Sky Sports last week.
“Their fight will happen anyway, this is just a matter of time.
“AJ knows that this guy is a real threat for him.”
Another boxer keen to keep himself in the hunt for a shot at the world title is New Zealand heavyweight and WBO number three Joseph Parker 27-2 (21) who will face domestic rival Junior Fa 19-0 (10) in Auckland in December.
“One hundred percent, we’d take the fight [with Usyk for WBO belt],” Parker’s manager Higgins told Sky Sports.
“In fact, I think Joseph’s claim for that opportunity would stack up against anyone else in that top 10.
“We would take the fight. You could look at doing it in the UK obviously, or New Zealand potentially, if it got a bit of government support.
“It all depends on that mandatory, and whether Joshua vacates or not. We’ll keep winning and take the opportunity when it comes.”
Parker dropped a 12-round unanimous decision to Joshua in 2018 that cost him the WBO strap.