Should Anthony Joshua vacate his belts and face Tyson Fury straightaway?
By Charles Brun: Tyson Fury is tired of waiting for his unification fight against Anthony Joshua. He doesn’t have faith that he’ll be able to handle his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury tells Joshua he should “vacate it” and get rid of his WBO title, and treat it like it’s a hot potato. Once that belt is gone, Joshua won’t have to worry about Usyk bearing down on him.
Usyk has already said that he WON’T step aside to let AJ fight Fury before getting his WBO mandated title shot. When Joshua heard that comment from Usyk, the first thing he should have done is vacate the belt.
Fury doesn’t want Usyk to take away his retirement check by beating Joshua before getting to him. He wants to be the next guy to beat Joshua, but that can’t happen if Usyk gets to him before he does.
It’s up to Joshua. If he wants to make sure he gets the big money that a fight with Fury will bring, then he’s got to vacate his WBO strap to get Usyk out of his hair.
Joshua should vacate his WBO belt
Joshua should have said to Usyk, ‘If you’re going to be like that, take the WBO title. I don’t need it. I’m going to fight Fury. You can fight #2, Daniel Dubois, for the vacant WBO belt, and I wish all the luck in the world because you’re going to need it.’
Joshua would look weak in the eyes of the boxing world if he vacated his WBO heavyweight title, but the fans would be appreciative of him doing so because they want to see him face Fury.
That won’t happen if Usyk deals Joshua with a humbling defeat. If Joshua loses to Usyk in early 2021, the two will fight an obligatory rematch in the second half of the year.
There will be no guarantees that Joshua will win the second fight with Usyk. If he loses to Usyk twice next year, then that’s it. His career will be on skidrow, and there won’t be any point in Fury ever fighting Joshua unless it’s just for old time’s sake.
What’s the worst that can happen if Joshua vacates his titles?
- Fans will look down on him
- Usyk’s status will be elevated
“Rather than fight all these mandatories he’s got, I’d say just vacate those belts and fight the fight everyone wants to see,” said Fury to Behind the Gloves un letting Joshua know he needs to vacate his IBF and WBO titles to avoid mandatory challengers Kubrat Pulev and Usyk.
Fury would probably give away his belt
If the shoe was on the other foot, Fury might do the same and vacate his titles if he wanted to go straight into a fight against Joshua. There’s too much money on the line for both Fury and Joshua to risk it by facing desperate mandatory challengers.
You’ve got to believe Pulev and Usyk will both be swinging for the fences against Joshua and fighting outside of their skin. They know that if they beat Joshua, it means they’ll get a big-money rematch or be able to face Fury.
It’s kind of surprising that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn hasn’t already convinced him to vacate his IBF and WBO titles by now to get Pulev and Usyk out of the way because those are fights that will bring in a lot less money than the Fury match.
It’s not just the risk for Joshua. There’s also risk involved with Fury, who has to keep busy waiting for Joshua. Fury is facing former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, in a rematch on December 19.
“Vacate it, let them boys fight for the vacant [WBO] belt, whoever it is, Usyk and [Joseph] Parker,” said Fury in giving his instructions to Joshua. “We’re at the top of the game. We’re in this boxing to fight the biggest fights out there.”
AJ has been stone quiet
Joshua hasn’t uttered a peep about Fury’s advice for him to vacate his WBO title, and that’s more than a little strange.
Typically, Joshua is quick to react to the things that Fury says about him, but not in this case. What does that mean? It tells Charles Brun that Joshua is thinking about what Fury said, and he’s likely contemplating giving up the WBO belt.
There’s nothing all to gain for Joshua in facing Usyk, as he’s not going to get credit for beating him. The casual boxing fans have never heard of Usyk, and he’s not even popular with the hardcore fans.
He’s a small, weak, Jimmy Young type of heavyweight, who wins by being crafty, and it’s not a pleasure to fight someone like that. If Joshua takes the fight with Usyk, several things can come out of that fight:
- Usyk wins, and Joshua is stuck fighting him again.
- Joshua struggles and edges Usyk in a close fight.
- AJ blows Usyk out, and the fans don’t care.
Overall, there’s nothing at all for Joshua to gain in fighting Usyk, and everything to lose. That’s why Joshua should give up the WBO title after he faces Pulev on December 12.
Fury to Usyk: “Don’t take my retirement check”
I don’t care how badly Fury beat Wilder in their rematch on February 22 earlier this year. That’s still a risky fight for Tyson, especially now. Wilder will be hunting for bear on December 19, and he’s going to want to knock out Fury.
If Wilder’s bicep has healed 100%, we may see an entirely different fighter than the one that Fury roughed up last February.
Fury doesn’t think Joshua has enough talent to beat the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk, and he doesn’t like the idea of AJ even attempting to take it. In Fury’s mind, there are too many things that can go wrong with Joshua, and then that would ruin their two fights next year.
So rather than IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) putting their two-fight deal in jeopardy in 2021, WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) wants him to vacate at least his WB title to move out of the way of Usyk.
Fury says he’s already seen Joshua lose once to Andy Ruiz Jr in June of last year, and he doesn’t want to see him get beaten for a second time by Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs).
“Come and fight the big boy, step up to the plate and get knocked out. Then fight all those easy guys,” said Fury about Joshua.
“No disrespect to Oleksandr Usyk – great fighter, cruiserweight world champion, probably going to be heavyweight champion if he fights Anthony Joshua – but don’t take my retirement cheque, baby. Don’t do it,” said Fury.
More Boxing News:
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- Joshua vs. Pulev a done deal for 12/12 at the O2 in London, UK
- Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev official for December 12th
- Hearn goes off on Wilder’s expired fight with Tyson Fury
- Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5
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- Vasily Lomachenko apologizes to fans for loss to Teofimo Lopez
- Campbell takes partial credit for Teofimo’s win over Lomachenko
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