Rumors of his stepping aside has prompted Anthony Joshua to step up and refute such claims.
England’s Joshua offered a response to a report from The Telegraph alleging that the former unified heavyweight titlist will accept a £15,000,000 offer that would permit current WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk to pursue an undisputed championship showdown with WBC/lineal champ Tyson Fury. The story—which ran Sunday afternoon—claimed in its title that Joshua was going to step aside, though noted in its lede that he was “close to accepting a £15 million step-aside fee. “
Neither are remotely true.
“I’m hearing people saying AJ accepts £15,000,000 to step aside,” Joshua stated in a brief 0:36 video that posted on his Snapchat channel. I ain’t signed no contract, I ain’t seen no contract. So, as it stands, stop listening to the bullsh!t until it comes from me.
“I’m the man in control of my destiny. I’m the man that handles my business. I’m a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way.”
The misleading suggestion has been floated ever since last November, when Joshua (24-2, 22KOs)—and, to a lesser degree, career-long promoter and Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn—publicly noted the business sense of fielding any lucrative offer under such a scenario. At no point, however, was it stated that a firm offer was on the table or that he was considering anything other than pursuing a rematch with Usyk (19-0, 13KOs).
Joshua exercised a rematch clause shortly after dropping a twelve-round, unanimous decision to Ukraine’s Usyk, who became a two-division champion with the upset win last September 25.
The move by Joshua came in the 30-day period allotted by the WBC Fury to pursue an undisputed championship clash in lieu of a title consolidation fight with WBC interim heavyweight titlist Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19KOs). Fury was granted that time frame in the wake of his eleventh-round knockout of Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs) in their thrilling trilogy clash last October 9 in Las Vegas. The WBC would permit a Fury-Usyk fight in the event that all parties were on board, only to be quelled by Joshua’s desire to avenge his most recent defeat.
Fury and Whyte have since engaged in ongoing and frustrating talks for a fight that has been attached to four separate purse bid dates. The matter is still scheduled for a January 26 hearing, the latest date after both parties contacted the WBC to twice postpone dates from the week prior. Fury is due the favorable end of an 80/20 split should it go to a purse bid, though Whyte is seeking a more favorable split through arbitration.
Meanwhile, Matchroom Boxing and K2 Promotions-Ukraine—Usyk’s promoter—continue to work towards securing a date for Usyk-Joshua 2. Sky Sports has reported that Joshua Is scheduled to sit down with his team on Tuesday to discuss a number of options, though not before pouring water on claims that emanated from anywhere beyond his own inner circle.
“You know what’s bad about all of these interviews I see. I see certain interviews that quote what I said, and I think to myself ‘I ain’t done no interviews,’” noted Joshua. “Where did this person get this information from?
“Don’t listen to the bullsh!t from other sources. If I tell you something then you know it’s real.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox