Bob Arum angling for Tyson Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk showdown
As a promoter, your job is to secure the most profitable and mainstream bouts that you can for your fighters. This is exactly what Bob Arum was trying to do in a recent interview with IFL TV. During the course of the inquiry, Arum was asked about his thoughts regarding the recent prizefight between Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KO’s) and Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-2, 22 KO’s). In the aftermath of that fight, the Ukrainian Usyk dethroned Joshua and absconded away with his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles. If given his choice, Arum would quickly match the Gypsy King with Usyk in the Ukrainian’s next bout.
ADD TYSON FURY TO THE MIX!
On October 10, Top Rank boxer and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s) will face Deontay Wilder. Should Fury prevail over Wilder, in their trilogy bout, Arum would love to see Oleksandr Usyk square-off with the Gypsy King for undisputed. For a brief period, it appeared that Fury was going to take on Joshua for the honorable distinction. Yet, all those plans were annihilated when Wilder won an arbitration case that required Fury to fight him next. Naturally, Arum would want his man fighting in a tremendous and historical event such as a heavyweight bout for undisputed.
“I think that Joshua would be well off if somehow he was able to take another couple of fights before the rematch with Usyk. And if people were sensible, Joshua would work out an agreement, if Tyson Fury is successful with Wilder, to allow Usyk to fight Tyson Fury and to have each fighter contractually agree in his next fight, whether it’s Usyk or Tyson Fury. Again, should Tyson Fury beat Wilder, to fight the winner. That’s sensible! But again, this is boxing and promoters with egos and fighters not making, in my opinion, the correct decision but really making fights based on emotion.”
The only major hiccup in Arum’s logic is calling AJ ‘sensible’ for passing on his immediate rematch. Of course, it makes sense to Arum for a Top Rank fighter to be half of such a colossal and meaningful dustup. The real question is, why would Joshua step aside and watch other men get the glory? While Usyk convincingly out-boxed Anthony Joshua, he did not devastate or beat him to a pulp. Theoretically, AJ is only a few adjustments away from a vastly different outcome. His loss to Andy Ruiz was lightyears more demoralizing than the one to Usyk. Speaking of Ruiz, in that instance, AJ was able to bounce back and reclaim his titles in an immediate rematch. So why would he seek to do anything else here?
There is little question that AJ believes in himself. Allowing Usyk to bypass him would be an admission of doubt and an acknowledgement that he is not ready for the challenge. Arum suggests that Anthony Joshua should take other fights, but what current heavyweight would prepare him for Usyk? Joshua has been a professional fighter for eight years and a world champion for the last five. If he is not ready for “championship level” competition now, he never will be.
Also, in Joshua’s mind, he would have the chance to get revenge on Usyk and potentially face Fury for undisputed, as they recently planned in an all-UK showdown. It makes no practical sense to strip himself of those realistic opportunities. So, again, while a Fury versus Usyk bout in the Ukrainian’s next bout may sound groovy to Bob Arum, it’s likely not going to get much traction with Team Joshua.
By: Bakari Simpson