3The time is near for undisputed cruiserweight champion and 2018 ESPN.com fighter of the year Oleksandr Usyk to make a decision on what comes next for him, and it is not necessarily the move up to heavyweight that most expected.

After Usyk, the 2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist for Ukraine, won the World Boxing Super Series and unified all four 200-pound titles in the final with a virtual shutout decision against Murat Gassiev on July 21 on Gassiev's turf in Moscow, Usyk defended all four belts with a sensational one-punch knockout of former world titlist Tony Bellew on Nov. 10 in Bellew's home country of England.

After that fight, many assumed Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw, would do what most other top cruiserweights have done: Move up to heavyweight. And while that is definitely in the plans for Usyk, it just might not be next, according to co-promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.

"We have a meeting in New York next week to decide his next fight and date," Hearn told ESPN on Wednesday. "He either stays at cruiserweight and fights [former world titlist Denis] Lebedev or moves up."

Hearn also said there have been "light" discussions about a possible fight later in 2019 against light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev, who has interest in moving up to the cruiserweight division to challenge Usyk.

 

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