OLEKSANDR Usyk has been ordered to put on weight if he plans to challenge Anthony Joshua for heavyweight glory.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has the 14st undisputed cruiserweight king under a promotional contract, as well as British hero AJ.
Having flattened Liverpool’s Tony Bellew in round eight on Saturday, Usyk joked that he fancied a holiday but would face Joshua tomorrow if the chance came up.
But Hearn has warned Ukraine’s 31-year-old southpaw master that meeting the 18st Watford giant would be a massive ask after just 16 pro fights in the division below.
Hearn said: “Technically Usyk is ready for Joshua but it’s heavy duty and he’s got to get bigger.
“He’ll need to add size and I think they will want two fights at heavyweight before looking at AJ.
“I don’t think anyone can outskill Usyk. The only way he can get beat is by being too small.
“No-one can beat him at cruiserweight, it’s impossible. So now he’s going to have to go to heavyweight. It’s like a handicap.”
Deeply private and religious, Usyk gave little away in fight week.
But after victory in Manchester there were glimpses of his personality. And Hearn peeled away a bit more of the mystique after a 4am fight-week fire alarm put Usyk in playful mood.
Hearn said: “Let’s market him for what he is, someone with deep faith who is a genius.
“He’s just been rocking round the hotel with his hoodie on like he works there. When the alarm went off, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall to see his reaction.
“There were alarms going off, strobe lights and a message saying ‘warning, warning’. I was thinking ‘he’ll be blaming me for this’.
“He came down for breakfast and went ‘fire alarm, you?’. I said ‘no, no’ and he then said ‘Tony?’. He’s a very cool, cool guy.”