ANTHONY JOSHUA is close to agreeing the final details to fight Oleksandr Usyk with 'no visible obstacles' in the way of negotiations.
AJ has had to turn to the Ukrainian, mandatory challenger to the WBO belt, after his super-fight with Tyson Fury collapsed.
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Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk is in talks with Eddie Hearn and growing confident his man will get a crack at the unified titles.
Krassyuk told Sky Sports: "We are in the middle of negotiations now and things look optimistic.
"As long as I am informed there are no visible obstacles to the deal not to take place, hopefully, it will be completed within the rendered timing."
AJ has had to drastically alter his training camp in preparations for southpaw Usyk, and has started recruiting lefty sparring partners.
Fury, 32, and Joshua, 31, were closing in on a deal for an undisputed title decider on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
But at the final hurdle, Deontay Wilder's right to a trilogy bout with Fury was awarded after a lengthy arbitration.
The Brit drew with his 35-year-old heavyweight rival in 2018 but won the rematch two years later, which included a contracted third bout.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fury's side argued the stipulation expired as they instead entered talks with Joshua.
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But Wilder's legal case later went his way and with no plans to take a step aside fee, all of a sudden AJ was left out in the cold.
The WBO, who had initially given Joshua clearance to proceed with his unification, then ordered him to face Usyk, 34.
His promoter Hearn told DAZN: “Subject to a few details from the WBO like the purse bid, that is the first fight.
“It looks like the end of August. Since the [Kubrat] Pulev fight, AJ’s whole life has been about the Fury fight.
“His training, his sparring, everything has been geared to that. So now we have to reset, he’s fighting Usyk, a southpaw.
“He had no problem fighting Usyk so he said if you feel like the deal is right, let’s proceed.”
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