Anthony Joshua's £15m step-aside deal still on cards with Eddie Hearn discussing 'proposals and options'

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Anthony Joshua - Anthony Joshua to accept £15m fee and step aside for Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk fight - GETTY IMAGES
Anthony Joshua - Anthony Joshua to accept £15m fee and step aside for Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk fight - GETTY IMAGES

The prospect of Anthony Joshua agreeing to a £15million deal to to step aside from his world heavyweight title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk still appears to be on the cards despite the British boxer’s claims to the contrary.

Telegraph Sport has reported that Joshua might accept the fee to clear the way for the Ukrainian to fight another Briton, Tyson Fury, for the undisputed heavyweight crown title.

Joshua posted a video on social media to say: “I’m the man in control of my destiny.”

But, as he issued his statement, Usyk’s management team revealed that they have been “in talks” for their boxer to take on Fury and a bid to to stage the fight has been tabled from the Middle East although it is understood that the Principality Stadium in Cardiff has also been booked for March 26 by Fury’s UK promoter, Frank Warren. Joshua would then be pencilled in to take on the winner.

Joshua, 32, who lost the International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation belts to Usyk on points at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25, insisted on Monday that he was still in the frame to fight the 35-year-old.

“I’m hearing people say, ‘AJ accepts £15 million to step aside’,” he said. “I haven’t signed a contract, I haven’t seen a contract. So as it stands, stop listening until it comes from me.

“I’m the man in control of my destiny, I’m the man that handles my business, I’m a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way. Don’t listen to other sources. If I tell you something then you know it’s real.”

However, Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, said that there are plans to discuss “a number of proposals and options” on Tuesday with the boxer. “I’m meeting with AJ and 258 management to go through plans for his next fight. We have a number of proposals and options to discuss. The goal remains the same of course – to re-capture the world heavyweight crown.”

Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk disclosed that his camp are awaiting clarification from Joshua and Fury. “We are in talks regarding Fury fight since November,” said Krassyuk. “And though AJ gave his consent, we still have not reached the final point in negotiations. And unless we get it AJ rematch remains the basic option for us.”

The battle for the heavyweight belts is further complicated by the fact that World Boxing Council champion Fury has yet to agree a mandatory defence of his title against Dillian Whyte, with purse bids for the world championship scheduled for tomorrow evening if the two teams are unable to finalise a deal over the 80/20 split of the revenue ordered by the sanctioning body in favour of the belt-holder.

It is the third time the purse bids have been rescheduled as the complex deals continue between the promoters, managers and lawyers of the world’s four leading heavyweights.

Seven months ago, Fury and Joshua had almost finalised an undisputed heavyweight fight themselves until the American Deontay Wilder won the right through arbitration to fight Fury for a third time, losing to the Briton in October in Las Vegas.

“It is boxing, it is messy and there is a lot of money involved,” Hearn said last week. “So it is getting even messier” while Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum has described the situation as “total chaos.”

Anthony Joshua set to accept £15m fee and step aside for Fury-Usyk fight

By Gareth A Davies

Anthony Joshua is close to accepting a £15 million step-aside fee that would pave the way for Oleksandr Usyk to fight Tyson Fury in an undisputed heavyweight title bout in the Middle East.

Joshua had been due a rematch with Usyk for his three world title belts, which he lost to the Ukrainian in London last year.

But the former Olympic champion is now open to accepting a deal to step aside after a weekend of protracted talks among boxing’s movers and shakers delivered hopes of a breakthrough. The Principality Stadium in Cardiff has also been reserved for Fury to fight on March 26.

Described as “chaos” and “a mess” by Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum, nothing official has come from Joshua’s management team - nor indeed has the Londoner announced his new training team after visits to several renowned American gyms - but his promoter Eddie Hearn last week suggested that boxing fans could “expect the unexpected” in the coming week as the situation is resolved for the spring.

If Joshua accepts the financial step-aside deal, rather than go ahead with his rematch, it would almost certainly be expected that the Londoner would face the Fury-Usyk winner.

There has been little clarity over the next round of heavyweight superfights with purse bids for Fury’s WBC defence against Dillian Whyte, the mandatory challenger, delayed three times, most recently to Jan 26. Arum and Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter in the UK, maintain they are sticking to the 80/20 purse split mandated by the WBC following Fury’s victory over Deontay Wilder.

Warren dropped the biggest hint yet that matters could be resolved this week. “It’s a saga but if we can keep things between us, we can get something over the line one way or another,” he said.

“Everybody in boxing wants to see the undisputed fight between Tyson and Usyk, I want to see it just as a fan. So that is the fight we are trying to make.”

Arum told Telegraph Sport on Sunday that he was unable to comment, yet if Whyte’s team aims to go ahead and claim the right to fight Fury and accept the 80/20 purse split, it ought to come to a head on Wednesday evening at the rescheduled purse bid for Fury-Whyte.

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