Joshua refuses to rule out stepping aside to let Fury fight Usyk

By Sports Desk November 28, 2021

Anthony Joshua says he would consider stepping aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk to allow the Ukrainian to fight Tyson Fury.

Joshua is set to fight Usyk for a second time in early 2022 after losing to the 34-year-old, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts on a unanimous points decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

WBC Champion Tyson Fury, after defeating Deontay Wilder in the final bout of a gruelling trilogy, is waiting on a decision whether a title fight will be ordered with Dillian Whyte, who wants to be sanctioned as the mandatory challenger.

However, Fury's ambition is to fight Usyk in a battle to become the undisputed champion, leading to calls from the 'Gypsy King' for his fellow Englishman Joshua to step aside.

For the first time a Fury-Usyk bout seems a possibility, with Joshua conceding he would consider skipping the sequel temporarily for both respect in boxing and financial gain.

"I think people know not to approach me with that rubbish," Joshua told IFL TV when asked if he had been offered a deal to skip the rematch. "That is bulls***. It may have come to my team, but they know not to bring that to me.

"Let me be real, it's not about the money, it's about the respect. What I want out of this game, number one is respect. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me. 

"Second thing is to go down as a throwback fighter, somebody who was willing to fight the best in their division so people know me as a true fighter.

"In terms of [stepping] aside, I don't know if that goes in line with what I morally stand for. But let me be real, I want to be known as one of the smartest businessmen as well.

"I used to watch Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, we all know the stories of NFL players, basketball players, they make bad decisions. I wanted to make sure I make the smart moves when it comes to this business. If the money is right, you have to look at it.

"You have to look at it. But respect to me has a lot more value than money. Respect first, what I'm known for when I leave this division, then being the smartest businessman in my career. 

"That step aside thing, it may not go with what I stand for in terms of bringing me respect, fighting the best, but it may make sense for business."

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