As fight fans have read, former two-time heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua has exercised his right to an immediate return fight with Oleksandr Usyk, who of course decisioned him and took his three belts last month. Joshua wants revenge over Usyk, he says he has “learned from his mistakes,” and the rematch is expected to happen some time around spring of next year.
But the big fight plenty of people really want to see is Usyk Vs. Tyson Fury; in a heavyweight unification showdown. One of these people is Frank Warren, and the promoter spoke with Sky Sports, urging AJ to step aside, “take a tune-up fight” and let Fury face Usyk next. Of course, there seems to be just about zero chance of Joshua, or Eddie Hearn, even thinking about stepping aside, but Warren says Joshua “needs a winning mentality” before tackling the gifted Ukrainian southpaw a second time.
“He shouldn’t be going through with it,” Warren said of Joshua going right back in with Usyk. “It’s his choice. If he knocks it on the head, it opens the door for us to do the unification. Let AJ get a warm-up fight. He needs a winning mentality before he goes into [the Usyk rematch]. Maybe he fights the winner [of Fury against Usyk] which is still a big fight.”
Again, this notion is not likely to appeal to Joshua, or to Hearn, at all. But in an ideal world, it would be Fury Vs. Usyk next (those rematch clauses have a lot to answer for), and Joshua would have to get back in line. Plenty of people think Usyk will defeat Joshua again when they do fight – this feeling based on Joshua’s perceived poor performance in September – therefore the rematch is merely delaying an Usyk-Fury clash. Of course, Joshua has his chance and it’s up to him to prove his critics wrong, again.
But if there is any intrigue surrounding an Usyk-Joshua II, there is way, way more interest in a Fury-Usyk clash. This one is a truly fascinating proposition; very much a David and Goliath affair. Warren says Fury “wouldn’t fight [Usyk] like AJ did,” that the big man would “use his physical attributes.” Maybe Joshua will do this in the return with Usyk. But the fight most of us want is that Usyk-Fury showdown.