Joshua refuses to rule out stepping aside to let Fury fight Usyk

By Sports Desk November 28, 2021

Anthony Joshua says he would consider stepping aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk to allow the Ukrainian to fight Tyson Fury.

Joshua is set to fight Usyk for a second time in early 2022 after losing to the 34-year-old, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts on a unanimous points decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

WBC Champion Tyson Fury, after defeating Deontay Wilder in the final bout of a gruelling trilogy, is waiting on a decision whether a title fight will be ordered with Dillian Whyte, who wants to be sanctioned as the mandatory challenger.

However, Fury's ambition is to fight Usyk in a battle to become the undisputed champion, leading to calls from the 'Gypsy King' for his fellow Englishman Joshua to step aside.

For the first time a Fury-Usyk bout seems a possibility, with Joshua conceding he would consider skipping the sequel temporarily for both respect in boxing and financial gain.

"I think people know not to approach me with that rubbish," Joshua told IFL TV when asked if he had been offered a deal to skip the rematch. "That is bulls***. It may have come to my team, but they know not to bring that to me.

"Let me be real, it's not about the money, it's about the respect. What I want out of this game, number one is respect. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me. 

"Second thing is to go down as a throwback fighter, somebody who was willing to fight the best in their division so people know me as a true fighter.

"In terms of [stepping] aside, I don't know if that goes in line with what I morally stand for. But let me be real, I want to be known as one of the smartest businessmen as well.

"I used to watch Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, we all know the stories of NFL players, basketball players, they make bad decisions. I wanted to make sure I make the smart moves when it comes to this business. If the money is right, you have to look at it.

"You have to look at it. But respect to me has a lot more value than money. Respect first, what I'm known for when I leave this division, then being the smartest businessman in my career. 

"That step aside thing, it may not go with what I stand for in terms of bringing me respect, fighting the best, but it may make sense for business."

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    Embiid missed out on last season's MVP award with an untimely late season knee injury not helping, finishing third behind Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry, but he brushed off questions about being driven to win that accolade.

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  • Fury appears to confirm Whyte fight after Hearn claims he doesn't want Usyk bout Fury appears to confirm Whyte fight after Hearn claims he doesn't want Usyk bout

    Tyson Fury has seemingly confirmed Dillian Whyte will be his next opponent after Eddie Hearn claimed the WBC heavyweight champion does not want to face Oleksandr Usyk.

    Whyte is the mandatory challenger for Fury's world title, but the WBC this week granted a 48-hour extension for the two parties to negotiate a deal for a fight.

    Purse bids for that all-British bout are now set to go in on Friday.

    It was reported by The Telegraph that Anthony Joshua was prepared to step aside from a rematch with Usyk in order for Fury to do battle with the WBA (Super), IBF and WBO champion in a unification fight.

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    The 33-year-old tweeted: "Who else can't wait for the fight. The best of Britain."

    Fury had earlier mocked Joshua and his promoter Hearn for supposedly rejecting a huge offer to step aside from a rematch with Usyk.

    "Had to do this video. Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua have to be the worst damn businessmen in history! Today they lost $90m, goddamn sons of b****es, crazy!" he posted on social media.

    Yet Hearn, also Whyte's promoter, says Fury is not prepared to fight Usyk next.

    "There are four people in this mix – Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Dillian Whyte, Anthony Joshua – and everybody has to be on board with the same proposal," Hearn told BBC 5 Live.

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    "They're never over, up until those envelopes are open," he added.

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    Fury and Whyte were permitted an additional 48 hours by the World Boxing Council (WBC) to negotiate their fight before purse bids are made.

    The deadline had been 6pm on Wednesday but has now been pushed back two days, though the WBC confirmed that it would be the final extension.

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    Whyte is the mandatory challenger for Fury's WBC heavyweight title but is currently in arbitration with the governing body.

    After the announcement of the extension, Fury took to Twitter to say: "Time to step up and take your beating."

    Fury's camp had previously made it known they wanted Anthony Joshua to step aside from his planned rematch with Oleksandr Usyk after the latter's triumph in September, which would allow the WBC champion to go up against the Ukrainian in a unification bout.

    The Telegraph reported that Joshua had agreed to forego the rematch for a fee of £15million, though the former world champion denied claims a deal had been struck.

    In a video posted to his official social media channels on Tuesday, Fury made it clear that he had had enough of waiting, saying: "Tick tick tock. The time has run out of the bottle. You're all getting a good hiding – cowards."

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