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Fury vs Usyk: Joshua set to refuse to step down

Negotiations aiming to persuade world-leading boxer, Anthony Joshua, to step away from a proposed rematch appear to be failing.

Joshua is set to play against Ukrainian contender Oleksandr Usyk as part of a rematch to which he is entitled.

The talks were fueled by World Boxing Council champion Tyson Fury, who is seeking to fight Usyk himself.

That way, the two heavyweights could go head to head without the complexity of Joshua’s involvement.

However, negotiations between the two sides appear to be coming to an end without any conclusive decision.

This appears to suggest that Fury will now have to go head to head with Dillian Whyte, who is from the UK.

The early stages of preparation for that fight are now beginning to go ahead.

Joshua’s spokesperson

A message from Joshua’s spokesperson and negotiator Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport came on Thursday of last week.

The subject of the press statement was actually about another boxer, Lawrence Okolie.

However, Hearn was asked to give an update on the status of the talks between the two other fighters.

Speaking to BBC Radio Live, Hearn pointed out the complexities of bringing together different people with potentially competing interests when trying to come to a conclusion.

“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.”

However, Hearn then went on to lay the blame for the breakdown in communication at Fury’s door.

“Ultimately it’s Tyson Fury who doesn’t want to fight Oleksandr Usyk next in an undisputed fight, he wants to have an interim fight in March. There’s no conversation to be had.”

The other side

However, Fury and his team appeared to hit back.

Fury himself took to Twitter to express his views on the upcoming fight against White.

“Who else can’t wait for the fight,” he wrote, suggesting that he was positive about it.

“The best of Britain,” he added.

According to press reports, Joshua’s negotiators requested that the payment of £15m be raised by £5m.

The context

The saga with the four fighters comes after Joshua lost to Usyk last year.

Usyk managed to steal Joshua’s titles and dent his global status by winning the support of the entire panel in a points decision.

Despite the writing appearing to be on the wall, Hearn seemed to want to continue to sustain the claim that there was hope.

He went on to say in his interview that it could move to “purse bids” – a system that involves an unlimited number of promoters participating in discussions and attempting to come to a conclusion.

“But there’s no real negotiations for Fury against Whyte outside of purse bids. It would take Tyson Fury probably to say ‘yeah OK look maybe I’ll fight Usyk’, but you never know what he’s going to do,” he explained.

It is believed that there could be some dispute between Hearn and Joshua himself about the best way forward – though this remains unconfirmed.

Kirk is a lifelong follower of all motorsports, particularly Formula 1, Nascar and WRC. When not found at the side of the circuit, eyes stinging from the burnt rubber, he also covers tennis, eSports and other categories for us.

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