Eddie Hearn Discusses Likelihood of Oleksandr Usyk Next For Anthony Joshua
When arbitrator Daniel Weinstein ruled WBC World Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s (30-0-1, 21 KOs) next fight must be against former WBC Heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), it ruined plans for a super-fight between Fury and unified champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs). Negotiations for the match had been underway since June of 2020.
Both Joshua and Fury agreed to terms for what would have been the biggest fight of 2021. It was on the cusp of being announced. Anticipation was that the showdown would take place on August 14 in Dubai. All parties were bitterly disappointed over Weinstein’s decision. Team Joshua and Team Fury are now left to regroup and strategize their move.
AND NOW WHAT?
On May 22, Fury put his John Hancock on a contract to fight a trilogy with Wilder. Now the question becomes, what’s next for Joshua? During an interview with iFL TV on May 24, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, gave insight on what is next for the unified champ. The CEO of Matchroom Boxing said that the goal is to reboot and decide their next move.
In the aftermath of the failed fight with Fury, the WBO ordered that Joshua must fight WBO Heavyweight mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk. When asked about the situation with the WBO and Usyk, this was his response:
“We have ten days to negotiate that fight. After those ten days, if we can’t agree to a deal, purse bids will be called, probably seven days after.
“They’ve ordered a maximum purse split of 80/20. We have to send in some bout agreements to finalize what the split will be. Then, we will make a decision if we move forward with the fight.
“I’ve been speaking to Alex Krajeck (Usyk’s manager). I think there’s a deal to be done for that fight. I think that’s the most likely of the next few options.”
When asked about the possibility of AJ vacating the WBO title, Hearn does not see that happening right now. As far as a date for Joshua vs Usyk, he is looking at either late August or early September. Wembley or Spurs Stadium in London, England is the leading candidate as far as location.
NOT MUCH CHOICE
Truthfully, Joshua and Hearn do not have a whole lot of wiggle room. They are in rebound mode. The WBO has a reputation of being dogmatic when they lay the hammer down on their champions fighting mandatory challengers. If Joshua insists on keeping the WBO belt, Usyk will be his next opponent, full-stop. Otherwise, he will get stripped of the title.
When it comes to the business of boxing, it is full of ebbs and flows. The fallout of Joshua v Fury not happening is the sport’s latest iteration of what is often the frustrating side of The Sweet Science.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.