Negotiations between Tyson Fury and OleksandrUsyk over an undisputed heavyweight fight are “getting there”.
Fury, 34, defends his WBC title against fellow Briton Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on tomorrow.
But Fury’s team are working behind the scenes to reach a deal with WBA, WBO and IBF champion Usyk.
Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren is confident an agreement can be reached, saying: “Usyk is the fight we want.”
There were fears that Usyk’s mandatory obligations could hold up the fight, but Warren said Fury hopes to fight Usyk as early as March, “providing there are no hold-ups”.
One of the potential issues could be Usyk’s mandatory obligations, with Croatia’s FilipHrgovicand Britain’s Daniel Dubois vying to be the next challenger to Usyk’s titles.
Fury’s team are prepared to wait until the summer to fight Usyk.
With Deontay Wilder set to fight Andy Ruiz Jr in a WBC final eliminator, Warren says Fury could take a voluntary defence should talks with Usyk drag on.
Undefeated British heavyweight Joe Joyce is an option after his stunning win over former world champion Joseph Parker in September.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said recently that the IBF had officially made Hrgovic the mandatory challenger and ordered Usyk to negotiate terms.
Hearn suggested the IBF decision could delay a Fury-Usyk fight, but Warren said Hrgovic is not the next mandatory to Usyk.
Usyk’s three belts mean he has three potential mandatory challengers to contend with, although the sanctioning bodies often co-operate with each other so one mandatory is called at a time.
Should Fury fight in March, Warren says they will push for Usyk to defend his titles against Dubois rather than Hrgovic.
Fury vacated the lineal title during his retirement and the Ring magazine title was awarded to Usyk after his win over Anthony Joshua in August. -BBC