Anthony Joshua set to accept step-aside fees for Fury-Usyk fight
Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO belts in a unanimous decision defeat to Usyk in September but was expected to face the Ukrainian in a rematch later this year.
However, the British fighter is reportedly ready to accept a huge fee to allow Usyk to face WBC champion Tyson Fury, who beat Deontay Wilder in their trilogy fight in October.
The Telegraph reported that Joshua is now prepared to step aside after a ‘weekend of protracted talks’ between all parties.
It could pave the way for Fury to face Usyk in huge fight in the Middle East, with the Principality Stadium in Cardiff also reserved for the ‘Gypsy King’ to fight on March 26.
Should Joshua accept the step-aside money and forgo his rematch, he would almost certainly face the winner of Fury-Usyk.
But the deal is further complicated by Dillian Whyte, who is currently mandatory challenger for Fury’s WBC title.
The pair were due to face each other early this year but negotiations stalled over fighter pay, with Whyte reportedly unhappy with an 80-20 split in favour of Fury.
However, reports suggest Whyte could be willing to accept a £5m step-aside fee to allow Fury-Usyk to happen.
Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum is hopeful a deal can be agreed between all parties.
“It’s a saga but if we can keep things between us, we can get something over the line one way or another,” he said.
“Everybody in boxing wants to see the undisputed fight between Tyson and Usyk, I want to see it just as a fan.
“So that is the fight we are trying to make.”
Should Fury face Usyk, the heavyweight division could be unified for the first time since Lennox Lewis achieved the feat in 1999.
Lewis was crowned undisputed champion after beating Evander Holyfield via unanimous decision, before the WBA stripped him of his world title the following year for failing to face their mandatory challenger, John Ruiz.
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