Alexander Krassyuk thinks it would make a lot of sense for Anthony Joshua to take a step aside fee.
Krassyuk, the longtime promoter of WBO/WBA/IBF titlist Oleksandr Usyk, believes London’s Joshua should seriously consider taking financial compensation in return for relinquishing his immediate rematch rights with the Ukrainian in order to make way for an undisputed title match between Usyk and WBC beltholder Tyson Fury, however slim the possibility might be, and provided a legitimate offer – one in which all parties have signed off on – is actually on the table.
The Telegraph recently claimed that Joshua had in fact accepted a step-aside deal for £15 million ($20 million) to allow this scenario to happen, even though Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) himself came out and rebutted the report.
Krassyuk, who promotes Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom, Joshua’s promoter, said he has no idea about the validity of the reported offer, but, speaking strictly from Joshua’s perspective, he believes a step aside may be in the fighter’s best long-term interests. A second straight loss to Usyk could be disastrous for Joshua, Krassyuk feels.
“I don’t know the money AJ was offered,” Krassyuk told Boxing Social. “I don’t know if he agreed to it. Or if he accepted it. According to Telegraph UK, he said he did. Which I think would be a reasonable step, but let’s think about it theoretically. What options [does Joshua] have?
“Let’s say [Joshua] fights Usyk next. Would he earn more? Maybe? I don’t know. Maybe something around that. Will it be a risky fight for him? Definitely, yes. If he loses to Usyk a second time, many question marks for his future. Here, if he gets this money and he gets the guarantee of fighting the winner of Fury-Usyk, then he gets his money and he gets the chance to fight for the undisputed. It’s a big benefit for him.“So if I was AJ I would probably consider this offer very seriously.”
Krassyuk pushed back against the narrative that if Joshua went down the step-aside route he would be, in effect, conceding that he is not up to the challenge of going up against Usyk.
“From a business side, why not?” Krassyuk said. “It doesn’t show that he’s scared of anyone. Just he gives a chance for the undisputed fight in heavyweight to take place. Stepping aside for money he [could] take, I don’t know, a tune-up fight in between and he fights the winner, which is the best [scenario] for him.”
Still, Krassyuk admitted that a step-aside seems more unlikely than not, given the numerous moving parts involved to consummate such a deal. A potential arrangement, Krassyuk said, would need the blessing of Fury’s mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte and a guarantee that Joshua would get a shot at the winner of Usyk-Fury.
“We discussed the possibility, if the money is right and there is a guarantee that the winner fights AJ next, if everyone is happy, then there are no big obstacles,” Krassyuk said. “There’s one more man playing a role in this movie and it’s Dillian Whyte being the mandatory for Fury and he is also has to be satisfied with the conditions. I think according to my experience it’s kind of complicated scheme to get real. Still, there is a chance that all the parties agree and that we see the undisputed heavyweight championship.
“It’s still just words. We think about this, we suppose it [could] happen, but we have no guarantee that this will take place. Unless there is no certainty about it, our basic option remains the same: the second fight between AJ and Usyk, the rematch.”