Advertisement: IBO Boxing
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

Usyk's Manager: If Joshua Vacates, It Tells Me He's Scared To Fight, Sees Big Risk!

As soon as Anthony Joshua put away Kubrat Pulev by massive ninth-round knockout to retain his unified heavyweight titles on Saturday in London, the conversation immediately turned to the prospect of a unification showdown with Tyson Fury to produce the first four-belt undisputed heavyweight world champion.

Both fighters say they want the fight. Their promoters claim they want to make it for the spring. Boxing fans are, of course, clamoring for it.

While both camps say they plan to get to work making the fight there is no guarantee it will happen next. One reason is if former titlist Deontay Wilder wins his case to force a third fight with Fury, who stopped him their February rematch.

Wilder exercised his contractual right to the third bout, but Fury’s side says the time limit on the option has expired and that Fury is no longer obligated to the bout. Wilder, per his contractual right, has taken Fury to mediation on the matter to try to settle it. Is that does not work, Wilder co-manager Shelly Finkel has said the next step would be binding arbitration.

“I think we’re all in the same mindset. We all want to make the fight,” Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing said this week. “There’s very little to discuss but still some things to discuss. We think we should try and move forward with contracts as soon as possible, let the governing bodies know that we have an agreement and then we’ll go to market and talk to the various people that have been approaching us about where the fight will take place.

“I know there’s a Deontay Wilder situation in terms of the (mediation) for that rematch clause. That’s the only thing that will stop this fight from happening next. There are still hurdles but I don’t see any major hurdles at all unless both guys want to have an argument about who goes first on the poster or who ring walks second. I don’t see that being an issue. I really believe it’s going to move swiftly. Hopefully, we can get something on paper before the end of the year.”

What Hearn ignored in his remarks, however, was Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua’s WBO mandatory challenger. Pulev satisfied Joshua’s IBF mandatory obligation and Usyk is supposed to be up next. It’s a fight the Usyk camp plans to press the issue on.

“We are aiming to fight for the WBO title next and Usyk wants to fight Anthony Joshua and that’s what we are going to do,” Egis Klimas, Usyk’s manager, told BoxingScene.com.

“Look, Oleksandr worked very hard all his life to get into this position, OK? All the amateur career, the gold medal in London Olympics (in 2012), undisputed cruiserweight champion and now having a couple of fights in the heavyweight division. So, he put himself into position where he is right now and he is in a very, very powerful position today to make it happen or not to make it happen.”

oleksandr-usyk (4)_6

Klimas said that while their side wants to face Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), 31, of England, next they are willing to at least listen to the Joshua side about a possible deal to step aside.

“If I’m gonna say I won’t look into anything I would be a fool. Of course, we have to see what is the best for Oleksandr Usyk,” Klimas said. “We don’t have to see what is the best for Fury or what is the best for Joshua. They have their teams looking after them. We have to see what is the best for Oleksandr Usyk.”

Klimas said he has talked about the situation with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter and Usyk’s former co-promoter. Klimas also has a good relationship with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter.

“I am not an idiot. I would sit down and talk and if it’s going to be fair, if it’s going to be something really good, of course, I will sit down and say, ‘OK, we can go in this direction and we can have this or we can go in a different direction and have this.’ But as far as today, Oleksandr told me a few times he doesn’t want to do anything. He wants to fight Anthony Joshua for the WBO title.”

In a recent interview with BoxingScene, Arum said he did not think the WBO mandatory situation with Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), 33, of Ukraine, would sidetrack making Fury-Joshua.

“The worst that happens is the (mandatory) fight is enforced so they strip Joshua and we forget about that title,” Arum said.

However, giving up a heavyweight world title is not something anybody does lightly and having all four belts at stake to make Fury-Joshua for the undisputed title is also significant, and Klimas knows it.

If Joshua vacates the belt to fight Fury “then it’s not history,” Klimas said. “Giving up the WBO belt means that Anthony Joshua is scared to fight Oleksandr Usyk. It means he sees a big risk fighting Oleksandr Usyk and losing. That’s what it tells me. If Anthony Joshua is 100 percent sure he can beat Oleksandr Usyk then it’s a different story. But if he is not sure, of course, he can give up the title.”

Klimas said he has not spoken with Hearn since Joshua’s win over Pulev.

“Nobody has called. We spoke with Eddie when we were in London for the (Dereck) Chisora fight about the possibilities,” Klimas said of Usyk’s unanimous decision win on Oct. 31.

“Eddie also would also like to be involved in Usyk’s future career as well as Bob Arum, who is interested to handle Usyk. But Usyk has his own promotional company, Usyk 17 Promotions. We’re in the best (position).”

Klimas said the fight with Chisora was the last bout of Usyk’s three-fight co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing. Klimas said K2 Promotions has one more fight left on its deal with Usyk. He wants the final fight of that deal to be against Joshua.

Klimas added that a major reason Usyk vacated the cruiserweight belts was because he knew he would immediately become the WBO heavyweight mandatory challenger. Per WBO rules, a champion deciding to change divisions is entitled to become the immediate mandatory challenger in the new weight class if he requests the position, which Usyk did.

“We’ve been the mandatory before this fight (between Joshua and Pulev) but the IBF came up,” Klimas said. “We should be fighting Joshua. We said we’re not going to go to court; we’re not going to stop anything. OK, let Joshua go fight Pulev and we’ll be fighting the next fight. The rules are rules and that’s where we’re at.”

Dan Rafael was ESPN.com's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Jkp on 12-19-2020

[QUOTE=Slimpack;20958559]No matter what AJ do, many will still not appreciate him. Against Whyte and Parker, they said he wasn't good enough. Against Wlad, they said he beat an already broken man. Against Povetkin, they said he beat an old man.…

Comment by Earl-Hickey on 12-18-2020

[QUOTE=Slimpack;20958559]No matter what AJ do, many will still not appreciate him. Against Whyte and Parker, they said he wasn't good enough. Against Wlad, they said he beat an already broken man. Against Povetkin, they said he beat an old man.…

Comment by DaNeutral. on 12-18-2020

[QUOTE=Jkp;20959534]Facts, check his record. He's never fought Wilder or Fury[/QUOTE] Yep, done that, I'm trying to find the words paper champ anywhere official, can't find them. Only places I see the words paper champ are from salty Wilder fans and…

Comment by Jkp on 12-18-2020

[QUOTE=DaNeutral.;20957876]LOL empty salty words from a Wilder conspiracy theory guy.[/QUOTE] Facts, check his record. He's never fought Wilder or Fury

Comment by MDPopescu on 12-17-2020

Hearn wants to sell out the Wembley stadium for the Fury fight -- but this will be possible as early as summer or fall...

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (60)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
Fres Oquendo Files Injunction Against WBA To Block Charr-Bryan Title Fight Jaron Ennis, Sergey Lipinets Agree To Terms For Welterweight Clash In April David Benavidez To Face Ronald Ellis In Showtime Main Event March 13 Frank Sanchez Wants Usyk, Joshua - Talks Working With Canelo Joe Joyce: Joshua Too Wary of Shots Coming at Him, I Back Fury To Win Estrada Motivated To Knock Roman Gonzalez Out, Leave No Doubt Logan Paul Insists Mayweather Fight Still On, Date Change Looms Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim - Undercard Information Chris Kongo vs. Michael McKinson Added To Povetkin-Whyte Card Jake Paul To Fight UFC Veteran, Former Bellator Champ Ben Askren On April 17 Jazza Dickens Weighs Options As Purse Bid Looms For Galahad Title Fight Rolly Romero: Sparrow Fought Like A Coward, Lucky They Stopped It When They Did Ellerbe: A Lot Of People Will Disagree, But Tank-Ryan Garcia Is Biggest Fight In Boxing Hearn Approached By Three Broadcasters, Intention is To Extend Deal With Sky Team Nakathila: The Least the WBO Should Do Is Sanction Stevenson vs Nakathila for Interim Title Kazeem Sosoye Looks To Shock Francis Chua on February 26 Berchelt: Fans Are Already Desperate To See Me and Valdez Fight Joe Joyce: Usyk Will Be Tough, I'm Fairly Confident I Can Beat Him Darren Tetley vs. Samuel Antwi on Febraury 19 MTK Card Caleb Plant: I'm The Big Dog at 168 - I'm Not Chasing Nobody! Canelo: Munguia Has Potential, But For Now I Don't Want To Face Another Mexican Salita on McGregor Defeat: There Will Be Significantly Less Interest in Boxing Return Ring City To Air 14 Shows in 2021, Migrate To Peacock Streaming Service In 2022 Reymart Gaballo-Emmanuel Rodriguez Rematch Ordered By WBC Sullivan Barrera Dropping To 168, Aims For New Opportunities Pacquiao Now Placed At +2000 To Next Land McGregor Fight Rances Barthelemy vs. All Rivera Tops FS1 Portion of Plant-Truax Card King Petitions To Make Bryan-Stiverne For WBA Title, Charr as 'Recess' Champ Julio Cesar Martinez vs. McWilliams Arroyo To Land On Canelo-Yildirim Show Lee McGregor Very Eager To Get in The Ring With Karim Guerfi Charr Cleared For Travel Visa, En Route To Florida For Title Defense Versus Bryan Stephen Fulton-Angelo Leo: Afterthoughts Keith Thurman: I Don't Know if Danny Garcia Has That Dog in Him Anymore Haney: Ryan Garcia Wants Tank Because He Thinks It’s Easier Than Fighting Me McGregor: There Are No Damn Leg Kicks In Boxing - Pacquiao Fight Was Happening Ex-NBA Guard Kendall Gill To Jake Paul: Come Fight Someone Your Own Size! Coldwell Talks Jordan Gill, Lerrone Richards, Hopey Price, More Haney: Mayweather Training Like He's Fighting a Top Welterweight Warren: Herring-Frampton Is the Kind Of Fight We Like, A Tough, 50/50 Fight Calvin McCord Discusses Career, Future Ambitions, More
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement