Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will most likely be facing his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk next at the end of August. He says they’re going to decide in the next 10 days whether the fight with Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) makes sense financially for them.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) doesn’t want to vacate his WBO title, but he will if there are better options out there for him than the 34-year-old Usyk.
Obviously, there are arguably half a dozen heavyweights out there that would likely bring in more money for Joshua than Usyk.
Joshua can likely make more money fighting Dillian Whyte, Andy Ruiz Jr, Filip Hrgovic, Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, and Deontay Wilder. But with Joshua’s goal being to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, he’s not going to want to give up his belts.
Joshua was hoping to fight WBC champion, Tyson Fury, for the undisputed heavyweight championship on August 14th, but the match fell apart last week after Fury lost his arbitration cause with Wilder.
Fury has decided to fight Wilder next on July 24th rather than pay him a step aside feel so that he could still go ahead with the Joshua match.
Hearn/Joshua to decide soon on Usyk fight
“Tuesday or Wednesday, the WBO sent an email to us, saying, ‘We want you to show cause why we shouldn’t order purse bids,'” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV on the Joshua vs. Usyk fight.
“What that means is, ‘You’ve got to give us an excuse why the Fury-AJ fight might happen,’ and we didn’t have an excuse, really.
“So I wrote to them on Friday and said, ‘Look, I want to catch up with AJ and his team on the weekend to decide what we’re going to do. Can I come back to you on Monday?’
“And they [who] came back on Saturday and said, ‘No, we’re going to now order that fight.’ Fair enough, we can’t the AJ-Wilder fight anyway because they’re signed.
“That’s another reason why they sent a letter. So we’ve got 10 days to negotiate that fight [Joshua vs. Usyk].
“After 10 days, if we can’t negotiate a deal, purse bids will be called, probably seven days after, and they’ve ordered a maximum split of 80-20.
“I think that we’ve got to send in some agreements for them to finalize what the split will be.
“Then we’ll make a decision whether to go forward with the fight. I think there’s a deal to be done for that fight. I think that’s the most likely of the next few options,” said Hearn.
The boxing public is split on whether Joshua should fight Usyk or not. A lot of British fans are keen on the idea of seeing Joshua defend against Usyk, but the Americans want to see a more compelling fight.
Many of them have already watched Usyk fight many times and noted that he’s a finesse fighter with very little power, who wins his fights by being slick.
Usyk fight must make sense
“It only really comes down to business,” Hearn said when asked what the possibility that Joshua will vacate his WBO title to swerve the Usyk fight.
“If the deal is not right financially. AJ, I spoke to him last week, and we already had these conversations with AJ and Rob McCracken over the last year about Usyk.
“They’re more than happy to fight Oleksandr Usyk. Anthony Joshua has continually faced everyone he needs to face.
“I know he’s more than happy to fight Oleksandr Usyk. It’s going to come down to business. If there’s a deal to be done that he feels is the right.
“Do we lock in that fight [Fury] for December?” said Hearn. “AJ was going to be ready originally August 14th. We may push that back a week or two because now.
“Probably the end of August. We fight at the end of August and then go into the December fight. Does that give you enough time?
“There’s a lot of things to consider, but the most scenario subject to if Usyk will take the fight and the terms are right for everybody, that’s probably going to be quite easy because they’re set out by the WBO if they’re fair, I see that fight [Joshua vs. Usyk] happening next. That’s the likely scenario,” said Hearn.
The fight with Usyk doesn’t make sense in terms of money, but it does if you realize that Joshua wants to become the undisputed champion.
If Joshua starts vacating titles to avoid dull opponents that bring nothing to the table, it could take him years to become the undisputed champion.