Various UK newspapers – The Telegraph, The Mail and others – are reporting that Anthony Joshua is “on the verge of agreeing of taking £15 million step-aside money which will allow Oleksandr Usyk to fight Tyson Fury next.” Nothing is official yet, but this is the word. AJ would then face the winner. Where this would leave Dillian Whyte, Fury’s WBC mandatory challenger, is not crystal clear.
But £15 million is a huge chunk of change; especially when handed to someone for basically doing nothing at all. Joshua would be a fool to say no to this offer (should it in fact be real), people have said, and are saying. So where would this money come from? Reports say rich people in the Middle East – as in mega-rich people in the Middle East; people who look at £15 million the way we mortals look at 15 pence – want to host a Fury Vs. Usyk undisputed clash there and are more than ready to pony up the dough.
Also, as Frank Warren has said, “everyone wants to see the undisputed fight between Tyson and Usyk.”
That’s true, we do very much want to see it. Not in a long time has a more fascinating heavyweight match-up at such a high level come about: boxing IQ against boxing IQ, size and strength against skill and tactics. Little man against big man. For all the marbles. Sure we all want to see it. And Joshua, with an additional small fortune safely in his bank account, would then get to fight the winner. It seems to be win-win for all concerned: for Fury and for Usyk, for the fans. In fact, for everyone apart from Dillian Whyte. What would his compensation be if this scenario did unfold?
Warren said we can probably expect some further news this week; maybe even something solid. But how will the fans take it if AJ does agree to step aside? Sure it’s good business, but would some fans perhaps think Joshua has sold out if he lets his conqueror Usyk fight Fury next?