Has Anthony Joshua made up his mind yet as far as taking or rejecting that reported sum of step-aside cash that, if AJ took it, would allow Tyson Fury to fight Oleksandr Usyk in a huge unification showdown? We don’t know. But plenty of people have an opinion on what Joshua should do. Some say it’s a no-brainer – of course he should take £15 million for doing nothing! Others, however, say Joshua the proud fighter would see his rep suffer if he passed on the rematch right he has with Usyk.
Also, Joshua is said to soon have a new trainer (or has perhaps already found one) and two or three months together would not be any way near enough time for the two to get sufficiently aligned for the big, must-win return with Usyk; so some people feel AJ would be smart to take the step-aside dough and have at least one tune-up type fight with his new trainer.
Lennox Lewis – who once took step-aside money, to the tune of $4 million, instead of fighting Mike Tyson; allowing Tyson to instead fight Bruce Seldon (Tyson beat Seldon with ease, taking the WBA belt and then ditching the WBC title) – has been asked his opinion on the subject and the former heavyweight king says “No” Joshua should not take the step-aside money.
“No!” Lewis said when being asked on social media if AJ should take the money. “And before you bring up the Tyson step-aside money, just remember, I wasn’t coming off a loss. I would go get my belts back first. This also is not advice or a knock on AJ. It’s just what I would do in that situation. It’s always good to get more time with a new trainer. I think fighters and trainers need that time to get their chemistry down as well as the changes to fighting style to be second nature. Very hard to do in four months.”
So Joshua does have some serious thinking to do, that’s clear, but he cannot take too long to make up his mind. If Joshua did agree to take step-aside money he would be guaranteed a shot at the Fury-Usyk winner – providing there was one. What if Usyk and Fury fought to a draw? It could happen. AJ would then have to wait a number of months before getting his shot. And what if the Fury-Usyk winner opted to then retire? This might be unlikely, but this too could happen.
Maybe Lewis is right – Joshua should go get his belts back. If he can. The rematch is right there for his taking and he should indeed take it.