By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn was angry earlier Thursday in reacting to Tyson Fury changing his mind about fighting Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed heavyweight fight.
Things have turned completely around for the negative for Joshua, 32, and Hearn, as now they’ve got to deal with Usyk, a fighter that could beat AJ again.
It’s evident that Fury took a good hard look at what he was up against in a fight with Usyk, and he opted to head in the opposite direction towards the path of least resistance against Dillian Whyte.
Let’s be honest. Usyk would have picked this fat version of Fury apart, and it wouldn’t have been pretty. The 2015 version of Fury would be too clever for Usyk, but not the fat 270+ bear-like Tyson we’ve seen lately.
Fury has gotten old and fat in the last three years, and there’s no going back to the fighter he was 3000 yesterdays ago.
The money that Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) will lose out on will be enormous if he gets beaten again by Usyk, which is why he should have NEVER exercised his rematch with the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the first place.
That was a poorly thought-out move on Joshua’s part. I’m sure Hearn advised Joshua against making this move, but he likely insisted in the heat of the moment.
In fairness to AJ, the loss he suffered against Usyk last September probably clouded his judgment.
Had WBC heavyweight champion Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) taken the fight with Usyk, he could have taken care of Joshua’s problem for him. Joshua could have gotten a fight with Fury immediately after for big money.
Hearn had hoped that his fighter Anthony Joshua would be given a lucrative step aside to guarantee that he could face the Fury vs. Usyk winner.
Instead of Joshua getting the step aside, he’s now faced with having to take on IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) in a rematch in May.
Fury wanted an interim fight
It’s frankly shocking that Fury was asking for an interim fight BEFORE fighting Usyk.
If you had any inkling of how worried Fury was about the prospects of fighting the talented Ukrainian Usyk, the fact that he was asking for an interim fight showed how scared he was.
“There might be a route that makes sense if everything was done in the right way,” said Eddie Hearn to TalkSport about the step aside deal for Joshua that fell through on Thursday due to Fury changing his mind about fighting Oleksandr Usyk.
“It’s a very difficult conversation with Anthony because, as you’ve seen from Tyson Fury, the King of contradictions, one minute AJ is a coward for thinking of stepping aside, and then he’s an idiot for turning it down. You can’t win.
“When you’re talking about these numbers [$90 million that Fury claims Joshua lost out on this week], you’re talking about an opportunity to have an interim bout and fight the winner of Usyk against Fury for four times more money than what he’d get to fight Usyk.
“So there’s a lot of sense to the model if the model was the model that we’d like it to be. But all four fighters in this mix need to be on board, and the reality is, Tyson Fury does NOT want to fight Oleksandr Usyk next for the undisputed championship.
“He wants to have an interim bout, and that’s what slowed things down because we couldn’t really understand. You just beat Deontay Wilder. This is the undisputed fight, and then he wants to have an interim bout,” said Hearn.
Tyson changed his mind
It’s probable that Fury took a good hard look at Usyk’s win over Joshua last September and realized that he had no chance of beating him. As far as Fury is now and as immobile as he is now at 33, he would be picked apart by Usyk.
A beating from a thousand cuts for Fury, and he likely decided it was safe for him to protect his hide by opting to take the easier fight, the Chisora-esque Dillian Whyte.
“Last night or yesterday, it’s ‘No, I want to fight Dillian Whyte next.’ So all the work that’s been going on behind the scenes, I haven’t been driving those talks, I’ve been listening,” said Hearn on Fury, changing his mind.
“It’s kind of crumbled away because Fury’s now decided, ‘Actually, I don’t want to fight Usyk for the undisputed. I want to fight someone else. Actually, I’ll fight Dillian Whyte.’
“So, now we stand here now on Thursday, we’re going to purse bids tomorrow in Mexico City for Tyson Fury against Dillian Whyte. Anything can change in five minutes. I can receive a call, and something else can change, but that’s what’s happening at the moment.
“You needed to come up with a path and a plan that everyone was comfortable with, and ultimately, in the end, not everyone was comfortable with it.
“Dillian would have to be guaranteed the WBC title and fight for it in the summer,” said Hearn about Whyte would insist on fighting for the WBC strap in his next fight after stepping aside. He wouldn’t step aside twice in a row.
“If everything was as we wanted, would we do it? Quite possibly. But we’re in a position now where Fury looks like he doesn’t want to go down that route in fighting Usyk. He’d rather fight an interim fight or fight Dillian Whyte, and we proceed with purse bids,” Hearn said.
Tyson changed his mind
“Firstly, that announcement will come from Anthony, and secondly, it’ll come when camp starts,” said Hearn about when Joshua will reveal who his new trainer is to replace Rob McCracken.
“I think we’re two or three weeks away from an official camp starting. I guess any environmental changes, which is the more likely of two scenarios, will be announced by him in due course.
“It’s amazing that people are interested in so many things about Anthony Joshua. We’ve obviously done a great job with him over the years, and so is he. There are questions every day. ‘Who is the new trainer? Who is he fighting? Where is he? What’s he doing?’ This is a really big year for him.
“You’re probably talking April for Fury against Whyte and May for AJ. The Usyk and AJ stuff is really quite straightforward. We got a deal, we got a contract, we know the terms. It’s just a case of when and where.
“Alex Krassyuk and those guys, it’s really straightforward. It’ll be ‘just to let you know, it’s April in Wembley or wherever.’ That’s not the date. Don’t start booking hotels. It’s on, but it’s been very complicated this whole process.
“It’s been quite arduous and frustrating. There wasn’t really any solution to it,” said a visibly agitated Hearn.
It’s pretty likely that Fury’s management entertained the idea of a step aside deal but concluded that it wasn’t tenable, so they opted not to go in that direction.
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) January 27, 2022