Usyk-Povetkin & Brook-Vargas Targeted
The next bouts for undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook are currently being worked on, and they may take place in the U.S., according to their promoter, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn.
Another one of Hearn’s boxers, unified heavyweight champion, is already set to make his U.S. debut on June 1, when he defends his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles against Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Hearn said if things work out, Usyk will make his heavyweight debut in his next bout, with Alexander Povetkin, Joshua’s most recent world title challenger, being planned as his opponent. Meanwhile, Hearn is also targeting a fight between Brook and former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.
Usyk vs. Povetkin is being targeted for May 18 in Chicago, Illinois.
Since turning pro after winning a gold medal in heavyweight boxing at the 2012 Olympics in London, Usyk has planned to unify world titles at cruiserweight before doing the same at heavyweight. After first securing the WBO titles in September 2016, the undefeated Usyk accomplished the first task by winning the cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series back in July. He then signed with K2 Promotions and retained the undisputed title with an eighth-round knockout of Tony Bellew back in November in Bellew’s retirement bout.
Povetkin, who won gold at super heavyweight in the 2004 Olympics, challenged Joshua for the unified heavyweight title in September, losing by seventh-round TKO. This snapped an eight-fight win streak he had since falling short in another previous title bid against Wladimir Klitschko back in October 2013.
Usyk’s first two WBO title defenses — against Thabiso Mchunu and Michael Hunter — took place in the U.S. This fight would mark Povetkin’s U.S. debut.
Meanwhile, Hearn says a fight between Brook and Vargas is being targeted for either May or June at a location on the west coast of the U.S. The fight between the former welterweight champions is expected to take place at a weight between 147 and 150 pounds.
After winning the IBF’s 147-pound title from Shawn Porter back in 2014, Brook made three title defense before stepping up to middleweight to challenge then-WBC/IBF/IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. He lost that fight by fifth-round TKO, ending his undefeated streak. Brook then lost his IBF title after being stopped by Errol Spence Jr.
Brook knocked out Sergey Rabchenko last March before scoring a decision win in a lackluster bout with Michael Zerafa in December. Brook was expected to next have a long-awaited clash with British rival Amir Khan, but Khan ultimately took guaranteed money to instead fight current WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in an April 20 pay-per-view headliner at Madison Square Garden.
Vargas won the WBO 147-pound title from Sadam Ali in March 2016 but he dropped the title to Manny Pacquiao in his first defense that November. Vargas returned to the ring a year later with a decision win over Aaron Herrera before back-to-back draws with Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme.
Two fights in Brook’s career, including his IBF title win over Porter, have taken place in the U.S. Vargas, who is from Los Angeles, California, has seen all but one of his bouts on American soil.
Original Story: ESPN