Tyson Fury v Dillian Whyte: Anthony Joshua denies he will step aside from Usyk rematch

Anthony Joshua misses a punch against Oleksandr Usyk
Anthony Joshua says he is not considering a step-aside offer so Tyson Fury can fight Oleksandr Usyk next

Anthony Joshua says he has not signed a £15m contract to step aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk so the Ukrainian can fight Tyson Fury in an undisputed heavyweight bout.

Fury’s promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren have been pushing for Dillian Whyte to agree terms while also speaking to Joshua’s team.

But Joshua, who lost to Usyk on points in September, took to social media to say he is yet to see a contract about such an arrangement and added: “I’m the man who handles my business”.

The 32-year-old Joshua said: “You know what’s bad about all these interviews I see?

“I see certain interviews that quote what I said, and I think to myself: ‘I ain’t done no interviews. Where did this person get this information from?’

“I’m hearing people saying, ‘AJ accepts £15m to step aside’. I ain’t signed no contract, I ain’t seen no contract.

“I’m the man in control of my destiny, I’m a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way.”

An agreement for either fight is expected to be reached by Wednesday when the Fury v Whyte purse bids will take place.

Whyte, the mandatory challenger to Fury’s WBC belt, is adamant he deserves more than a 20% cut of the fight revenue, the split ordered by the WBC, and purse bids for the fight have been postponed three times while talks continue.

Team Fury have become frustrated with the delays having already pencilled in Fury to fight on 26 March in Cardiff, and the offer to Joshua to step aside could pressure fellow Briton Whyte into agreeing terms.

Should purse bids take place, rival promoters will be able to bid to stage Fury v Whyte.

Eddie Hearn promotes Joshua and Whyte and is fielding step-side offers for Joshua as well as trying to finalise a deal for Whyte v Fury. Whyte’s ongoing dispute with the WBC has complicated matters, with the ‘Bodysnatcher’ furious at the time it has taken for him to be installed as mandatory challenger and the suggested purse split.

The WBC has a history of delaying mandatory challenger fights if a major bout is agreed – and a fight between Fury and Usyk for the undisputed title would certainly meet that criterion.

Usyk punches Joshua during their bout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September
Usyk outclassed Joshua in September to become the new unified heavyweight world champion

The Telegraphexternal-link reported Joshua was open to accepting a £15m offer to move aside from his projected April fight date with Usyk to allow the Ukrainian to fight Fury in the Middle East.

Joshua activated his rematch clause with Usyk after he was beaten convincingly on points in September and has repeatedly insisted he is desperate to gain revenge and become a three-time heavyweight world champion.

Usyk holds the WBA (Super), WBO and IBF titles while Fury is the WBC and Ring magazine heavyweight champion.

Should it happen, any agreement from Joshua is likely to include a promise that he could fight the winner of Fury v Usyk later in the year.

Joshua is currently in an excellent position. The two-time unified heavyweight champion is backing himself to beat Usyk in a rematch planned for April – and has long chased an undisputed fight.

Joshua is also poised to announce changes to his coaching team, but there is yet to be any official word on whether the British fighter will stick with his long-time coach Rob McCracken.

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