By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua made a big production on Monday to deny the reports that he’s agreed to a lucrative £15 million offer for him to step aside so that his conqueror Oleksandr Usyk could face Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Boxing fans think Joshua should take the £15 million step aside deal if it exists because it would guarantee that he would be involved in a massive fight later this year against the Fury vs. Usyk fight.
Fans don’t want to see Joshua getting beaten a second time by Usyk in April because that permanently ruins any chances of him facing Fury.
Joshua doesn’t like the idea of stepping aside to allow Fury to fight Usyk, but it would be the best thing for him right now.
During Joshua’s lengthy statement on Monday in reaction to the £15M step aside report, he referred to himself as a “smart individual.’
If that is true, the case, Joshua should readily agree to the £15 million deal, step aside and avoid absorbing a near-certain second defeat at the hands of Usyk.
The struggling Joshua, who has two out of his last five fights, wanted the boxing fans to know that the report from The Telegraph was complete “Bulls**t.”
Nevertheless, it would do Joshua a world of good for him to agree to a step aside offer if one were offered to him. It might hurt Joshua’s ego to be seen agreeing to step aside, but at least he can get his career going for a bit longer.
If Joshua avoids fighting Usyk, he can keep his ship afloat for a little bit longer. Still, he’s not going to be able to stay among the top heavyweights in the division without drastic measures.
The only way Joshua will stay among the top fighters in the division is if his promoter Hearn matches him against strictly beatable guys that lack the power and talent to defeat him.
Joshua only has 2 or 3 fights left in him
Aside from that, Joshua only has two or three fights left in him before the fans completely give up on paying to see his fights.
At 32, Joshua has become a Frank Bruno and Oliver McCall type of heavyweight. He’s food for top guys like Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Frank Sanchez, Filio Hrgovic, Tony Yoka, Daniel Dubois, and Joe Joyce.
Even if Joshua isn’t offered a step aside, he should back away to let WBC heavyweight champion Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) fight IBF/WBA/WBO champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs).
Why Joshua should step aside:
A. Joshua would save his floundering career
B. Fans would see the best against the best [Fury vs. Usyk].
C. AJ will have time to take a tune-up
With a reported net worth of $80 million, Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) doesn’t need the $20 million for a step aside, but he does need to save his plummeting career.
If AJ chooses to be stubborn about not stepping aside, he’s going to almost surely get humiliated a second time by Usyk in their rematch in April. Once that happens, Joshua’s opportunities to add to his $80M net worth will slowly disappear. We’ve seen it with the past heavyweights like Evander Holyfield.
Fans will keep watching Joshua, but if he literally can’t be counted on to beat any of the top-tier heavyweights in the division, fans will move on and spend their hard-earned money elsewhere rather than throw it away watching AJ lose.
For Joshua to continue to bring in the dough for his fights, he must win constantly, but he doesn’t seem capable of doing that at this point in his sagging career.
The fact that Joshua was soundly beaten by the heavy underdogs’ Andy Ruiz Jr. and Usyk suggests that he’s not the fighter that he once was. But for all we know, Joshua would have lost to those two fighters even during the best years of his career from 2013 to 2017.
Suppose you remember watching Joshua be given three controversial decisions in a row in the 2012 London Olympics and be given questionable gold media. In that case, it’s understandable why he’s losing to the likes of Usyk and Ruiz.
It wasn’t a fluke thing that Usyk dominated Joshua last September at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in North London, England. Joshua couldn’t pull the trigger on his shots due to him being gunshy from being knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019.
When Joshua fought aggressively in the early going against the 269-lb replacement opponent Ruiz, he was countered and badly hurt. Since that fight, Joshua has been afraid to use his power to try and win his contests.
Joshua’s stamina problems are another reason he refused to fight hard against Usyk because he knew that if he put his foot down on the accelerator, he would gas out and be at the mercy of the Ukrainian talent.