Promoter Eddie Hearn says Oleksandr Usyk didn’t think twice about taking the rematch with Anthony Joshua because he’s confident he’ll beat him a second time when they meet in April.
Some boxing fans have grumbled a little bit on why Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) agreed to the rematch clause for his fight against former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) on September 25th in London. Still, according to Hearn, the terms were excellent.
Team Usyk didn’t hesitate in agreeing to the rematch clause, knowing that they’d make a lot of money.
If not for the rematch clause, Usyk would have moved on and faced WBC champion Tyson Fury in March or April for the undisputed championship.
That’s the fight the boxing public would prefer to see because it would decide who the #1 heavyweight is in the division.
The way it’s set up now, Usyk is stuck running it back against Joshua in April, whereas Fury will be facing his WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte in March or April.
If things don’t work well, Usyk will lose to the twice-beaten Joshua, and Fury will get beaten by Whyte, setting up a Joshua-Whyte 2 rematch.
We already saw Joshua knockout Whyte in the eighth round in 2015, and there wouldn’t be a lot of interest in seeing a second match between them.
Usyk believes he’ll beat Joshua again
“Team Usyk are good genuine people know they have the responsibility to rematch AJ. They’re happy to do so. They believe they’re big favorites in the rematch,” said Eddie Hearn to Gareth A Davies.
“They think they can do a better job by the sounds of some of their interviews, and so do we, and so do AJ. He can do a better job. Our plan is probably by the end of this month to have that date locked in stone.
“I expect AJ to start camp by the end of January or early February. Itis agreed,” said Hearn about what the purse split will be for the Joshua vs. Usyk rematch. “I won’t talk about the contract, but it’s pretty standard for what you would expect for that fight.
“A lot of people talk about rematch clauses. Right now, Oleksandr Usyk is very happy with the rematch clause that he signed to fight Anthony Joshua.
“Team Usyk wanted to sign a rematch clause under those kinds of terms because obviously he’s going to make a lot of money for that fight, and there’s always that old adage, isn’t there? ‘Beating him once, beating him twice,’ and that’s how they feel. They feel very confident about this fight.
“He’s [Joshua] taking a lot of risks. There’s always a lot of risks going into a fight with a new team. He’s going to make sure he gets it right in an absolutely must-win fight,” said Hearn.
Usyk knows how to beat Joshua now, and he’ll likely push a faster pace than he did last September to get him out of there.
If not for Usyk holding off after hurting Joshua in the 12th, he would have knocked him out. Usyk’s trainer had told him not to go for the knockout, so he held back against Joshua.
For the rematch, Usyk is likely to be given the green light to finish Joshua if he hurts him, as he did on a couple of occasions last September.
Hearn talks Fury vs. Whyte
“I think the WBC order for the Dillian Whyte fight kind of slowed down those step aside talks,” said Hearn. “That was a conversation I was willing to have for Anthony. It’s not one that he was willing to have at that point.
“Dillian Whyte’s conclusion in that mix makes that whole procedure much more difficult. We’ll see how that plays out. To think about a step aside for AJ and Dillian and all the contractual necessities that would have to fall in place for both of those guys to be comfortable with that position is very difficult and also very costly in terms of time.
“The maximum split for an interim champion is 55/45,” said Hearn on what split WBC interim heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte could get in an ideal situation with the World Boxing Council.
“That’s extremely aggressive. You have to look at the situation. Tyson Fury is a huge name, making a lot of money. Dillian Whyte is also a big name, and he’s making a lot of money.
“He’s filled the O2 on several occasions, and he’s boxed on pay-per-view on several occasions. It’s the biggest fight in the division outside of Usyk and AJ for Tyson Fury.
“We can’t just disrespect Dillian Whyte as a standard challenger when he’s waited so long for this opportunity and when his commercial value for this fight is so big. So, I think 80/20 is ridiculously unfair.
“Can I honestly canvas 55/45 to you? No. But it’s significantly more than 80/20. It makes a big difference when you’re talking about the money in the pot for this fight.
“10 or 15 percent is a lot of money, and we have to respect the value for Dillian Whyte and the amount of time he’s had to wait for this opportunity. That should be reflected as well.
“If we win the purse bid for the fight, we’ll do the fight when we want to do the fight and where we want to do the fight. But March 26th is achievable in terms of the preparation for the fighters,” said Hearn.
It sounds like Hearn is setting himself for a big disappointment believing that the WBC will change their ruling on the 80/20 split.
Instead of Whyte wasting his time with the arbitration, which could ultimately lead to Fury vacating his WBC title, he needs to take the fight and try and win.
If Whyte beats Fury, it’ll result in a bigger payday in the rematch or against the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk 2 fight winner. The way that Whyte is going about it, he’s going to wind up with Fury vacating his WBC title if the World Boxing Council gives him the split that he’s asking for at 55/45.