Major Obstacle To Anthony Joshua Vs Tyson Fury Unification Fight Removed
Oleksandr Usyk has strongly hinted he'd be willing to step aside and allow Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury to fight for all of boxing's major heavyweight world titles in 2021.
The Ukrainian is a spanner in the works of an undisputed showdown, as he is No 1 contender for one of Joshua's alphabet belts following his win over Derek Chisora. Which means Usyk has a right to either fight AJ next or to demand Joshua vacates the belt if he fights another opponent.
However when asked if he'd consider moving aside to let an AJ-Fury fight happen, Usyk told SunSport: "All four belts might end up in the same hands of one person.
"It might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. We should all talk and communicate for that to happen because it is a really big event."
:wave: "Hello Anthony!" - @usykaa
:eyes: "I'm coming Usyk!" - @anthonyfjoshua
Our #UsykChisora post-fight edit is out now! pic.twitter.com/H0CSzJXTLk
- Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) November 3, 2020
This is a very different view to the one taken by the 33-year-old in the aftermath of October's points win over Chisora when he and his team were - understandably - determined to make his next fight a title shot.
Joshua took care of one mandatory obligation when he bludgeoned Kubrat Pulev to defeat earlier this month. But now it seems Usyk may be willing to give the public what they want by potentially allowing Joshua and Fury to fight for all the belts next.
Thanks for coming :boom: pic.twitter.com/zvDVXPNLwK
- Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) December 13, 2020
"I still want to fight Anthony Joshua for the title," Usyk explained to SunSport. "There are many factors for this fight to happen, my team and all the participants and all their interested parties are already working on it.
"But there are still many people who wish to fight him as well, like Tyson Fury."
If Usyk does move aside to allow Joshua and Fury to fight in a rumoured May 2021 clash, he is likely to be paid a step-aside fee for his troubles. A promised shot at the eventual winner might also appeal to the former unified cruiserweight champion.
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Usyk's apparent change of heart could also be influenced by the fact that promoter Eddie Hearn has hinted that Joshua and Fury could go ahead with no alphabet titles on the line.
Eddie Hearn warns the WBA, WBC, IBF & WBO that all their belts could be vacated for Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury...
[:movie_camera: @MatchroomBoxing] pic.twitter.com/AYXXXJFpCN
- Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) December 16, 2020
The thinking being that the public would still want to see the super-fight, even without the gaudy belts - and deep down the competitive Usyk probably wants to fight the best rather than pick up a meaningless, vacated title.
However it's known that Joshua himself has a burning ambition to hold all four heavyweight belts at the same time - so Usyk pressing his mandatory claim could derail the Fury mega-fight.
Usyk's manager Egis Kilmas has previously said that if Joshua chose to vacate the WBO belt in order to fight Fury it would show he was "scared" of facing Usyk.
However the charismatic Ukranian disagreed saying: "No, I don't think he would really be afraid of me.
"Because I think if he even does vacate the belt, he might have his own reasons. With Tyson Fury he has better opportunities, I think."
If Usyk really is prepared to step aside and clear the way for an AJ-Fury unification showdown in the first half of 2021, his popularity with boxing fans might soar to even greater heights.
Featured image credit: PA Images
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