Eddie Hearn reveals what led to the step aside deal for Anthony Joshua breaking down was Tyson Fury insisting on having an interim tune-up fight for late March before challenging Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Surprisingly, Fury posted a clip on Twitter on Friday, laughing it up over his missed deal to face Usyk next for the undisputed championship.
Sadly, Fury doesn’t realize that the joke is on him. He’s the one that missed out on the opportunity, and his decision could cost him a fight against Anthony Joshua that would have happened had he fought Usyk next.
Fury’s assistance in taking a tune-up fight before facing IBF/WBA/WBO champion Usyk for the undisputed is what caused the step aside deal to break apart.
Hearn couldn’t understand why WBC champion Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) needed an interim fight in March before facing Usyk when he just finished fighting Deontay Wilder last October.
The Wilder fight was a mere three months ago. Why on Earth would Fury require a tune-up fight before fighting Usyk?
Hearn says that if his Matchroom Boxing promotional company wins Friday’s purse bid for the Fury vs. Dillian Whyte fight, they have until April 29th to stage it.
The magic question is whether Fury will go ahead with the fight against his WBC mandatory Whyte or if he’ll vacate his title and take an extended break before fighting again.
Team Usyk says Fury ‘Bottled it’
“Anthony Joshua stepped up to fight Oleksandr Usyk. Not, ‘Hang on, I’ll just do a few posts on Instagram pretending I wanna fight him.’ I spoke to Alex Krassyuk [Usyk’s promoter] last night – they feel that Tyson Fury has bottled the fight vs. Usyk,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV.
From looking at Fury’s history, we know he’s not been reliable to take tough fights within a short period. For example, after Fury fought Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, it was three years before he fought another high-level heavyweight in Wilder in 2018.
After battling Wilder to a draw, Fury didn’t fight him again until 2020, a year and a half later. Interestingly, we didn’t see Fury face Wilder for their trilogy match for almost two years until October 2021.
I don’t know what it is with Fury, but after facing a high-level heavyweight, he tends to take extended breaks before facing another one.
That approach that Fury has taken in the past when mixing it up with elite-level fighters wasn’t going to work for the Usyk fight because he didn’t have the luxury of a prolonged period before needing to face him.
There isn’t time for Fury to take a tune-up fight before facing Usyk. Fury would need to get back in the gym, train hard, and be prepared to fight Usyk by April for the step aside to work.
It’s sad because it would be great to see Fury face Usyk for the undisputed championship to increase the chances of a Fury-Joshua fight occurring later this year.
Fury’s failure to take the fight with Usyk could result in him making much less money in the long run. Look at it this way. If Usyk defeats Joshua next in May, there won’t be a Fury-Joshua fight in 2022. Joshua’s career will effectively be over after a second defeat against Usyk.
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) January 28, 2022
Moreover, instead of Fury getting massive money fights against Usyk AND Joshua in 2022, he’ll likely be stuck with just Whyte and the Ukrainian fighter. That’s a lot less money for Fury.
It’s surprising why Fury would require a tune-up fight to get ready for Usyk when he just finished fighting Wilder in October. Why a tune-up? It doesn’t make any sense at all.
For Team Usyk to be saying that Fury “Bottled it,” that’s got to hurt. They view Fury as having lost his courage to take part in a battle.
You never want to be seen as lacking in courage, but Fury put himself in that position. According to Hearn, Fury wasn’t ready to take that kind of a fight against the talented Usyk. Oh well.