Oleksandr Usyk not stepping aside for Joshua – Fury fight
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn may need to carry out his tough talk of Anthony Joshua vacating his WBO heavyweight title if his mandatory Oleksandr Usyk refuses to step aside so that AJ can take a lucrative business level fight against Tyson Fury in the half of 2021.
According to Usyk’s manager Alexander Krassyuk, he WON’T be giving up his WBA mandatory status so that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) can face WBC champ Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) with all four titles on the line.
Joshua’s Matchroom promoter Hearn said on Sunday that he’d try to make Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) happy to get him to step aside, but they won’t be held for “ransom” with what he’s asking for.
The basic problem, which is significant is, Hearn and Joshua not only want Usyk to step aside for early 2021 so that he can face Fury, they also want him to step aside for the ENTIRE year.
“According to now, the deadline is more for Fury and AJ, not for Usyk. There were talks about an interim title or the AJ vs. Fury winner relinquishing the WBO title the next day [after the two British heavyweight fight],” said Usyk’s manager Alexander Krassyuk to Sky Sports News.
“But as for today, Usyk is the WBO mandatory and never gave his consent for the [Joshua vs. Fury] bout to happen without him.”
This means for Usyk that he would be passed over twice by Joshua in 2021, and he would be a year older by the time he gets his mandated title shot for the WBO belt in 2022.
Usyk is not a spring chicken at 33, and he’ll be turning 34 this month on January 17th. So if Usyk agrees to step aside twice in 2021 for Joshua to face Fury in consecutive matches, he’ll be 35-years-old by the time he faces the eventual winner in 2022.
The way that Usyk is being asked to wait a year on top of the three years he’s already been waiting obviously plays into the hands of the younger fighters Joshua and Fury. Joshua is 31, and Fury is 32, and they get by with their size rather than speed.
It’s common knowledge that the fighters that depend on their speed to win fights begin to lose it rapidly when they hit their mid-30s, which might explain the trouble that Usyk had in beating Dereck Chisora last October.
It would be a mistake for Usyk to take a risky interim fight while he waits for his mandated title shot against the WBO belt holder Joshua. If Usyk were to take a stay busy fight or two while waiting for his mandatory title shot, he would be expected to face a talented contender.
Charles Brun could see Usyk being asked to face one of Hearn’s Matchroom stable heavyweights like Filip Hrgovic or Joseph Parker, which would be incredibly risky for him.
“Usyk is in good conditions now, he successfully recovered from his last fight and looks forward to fight challenge the title this spring,” said Krassyuk
“A non-title fight has never been under discussion and I really hope it will never be.”
So there it is; Usyk won’t take a non-title stay busy fight while he waits for his mandated title shot against WBO champion Joshua. Why should he?
Usyk would be in a headliner spot if he did take a non-title fight while waiting, and the TV networks would expect him to face a top 10 level heavyweight.
The networks would likely not agree to let Usyk fight in the main event against a fodder-level opponent because that wouldn’t bring in the viewers.
Why would Usyk put his WBO mandatory spot at risk like that unless he’s given a huge amount of money to step aside or Joshua to face Fury twice.
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