By William Lloyd: Eddie Hearn wants fans to forget about the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fight for now because AJ and Matchroom’s focus is now on Oleksandr Usyk.
WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) also has a potential banana skin in the form of former WBC champion Deontay Wilder, who he’s facing on July 24th.
It’s not a guaranteed certainty that Fury will win that fight against Deontay (42-1-1, 41 KOs), who has a new coach and is out for revenge.
If Wilder upsets Fury, it could be Joshua-Wilder that takes place in December in Saudi Arabia. That’ll be the next move if Joshua wins his fight against Usyk.
Hearn feels that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) has a tough fight ahead of him against WBO mandatory Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs.
As one would expect, Hearn doesn’t want Joshua to overlook him thinking about Fury and wind up losing. That happened before when Joshua was looking past Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, and he suffered an upset sixth-round knockout defeat.
Hearn is still negotiating the Joshua vs. Usyk fight for September with the Ukrainian fighter’s manager Alex Krassyuk. They’ve agreed to terms for the fight for the offer, and the next move is to get the contracts signed.
Hearn says “forget about” Joshua-Fury
“Do you know what, I think right now, let’s just forget about that fight,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said to Sky Sports about the Fury match.
“The only good thing to come out of this is that we have two good heavyweight fights [Joshua vs. Usyk and Fury vs. Wilder]. These aren’t marking time fights for Fury and AJ. These are two competitive, dangerous fights.
“This summer, you’ve got Fury-Wilder and hopefully AJ-Usyk as well. Two good heavyweight fights,” said Hearn.
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk has put on a lot of muscle weight in bulking up to the low 230s in hopes of increasing his punching power for the Joshua fight.
Assuming the Joshua-Usyk fight gets made for September, there won’t be much weight difference between the two.
Joshua weighed 240 lbs for his last fight against Kubrat Pulev last December and 237 for his rematch with Andy Ruiz in 2019.
If Usyk comes into the fight with Joshua at around 231 lbs, there will be very little to separate them weight-wise.
“Once those two nights are complete, let’s go back to where we kicked off before because right now, there are no conversations from the other side to us saying, ‘Let’s just get it in the diary for December or January,’” said Hearn about wanting to resume talks for the Joshua vs. Fury mega-clash.
“I don’t really want to get into that conversation. I want AJ to focus on Oleksandr Usyk,” said Hearn.
Joshua must stay focused on the task at hand against Usyk because this potentially a harder fight than Fury’s rematch with Wilder. Usyk has the technical skills and the pedigree to defeat Joshua.
We saw what Usyk did in dominating the much larger Joe Joyce in the World Series of Boxing many years ago, and that was a larger fighter than Joshua.