Anthony Joshua’s blockbuster showdown with Tyson Fury should receive a major boost next month when an Oleksandr Usyk-shaped stumbling block is removed.
The charismatic Ukrainian is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBO heavyweight title and his desire to compete for the belt had threatened to scupper plans for AJ to finally face Tyson Fury.
However, it appears that Usyk is now just weeks away from having an alternative fight with Joe Joyce confirmed, which would allow Joshua to agree the finer details of his clash with the Gypsy King.
Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that Usyk vs Joyce will go to purse bids at the beginning of March, with the winner likely to face the winner of Joshua vs Fury.
‘The WBO have ruled [Usyk vs Joyce] for the interim title with a view to the winner fighting the winner of AJ-Fury,’ Hearn told SKY Sports. ‘I believe that fight will go to purse bids in a couple of weeks. Certainly we will be bidding for that fight. It is a good fight.
Last week, Fury’s US promoter, Bob Arum, revealed that there were ‘less than a handful’ of issues to sort before the £200million mega-fight with Joshua could be confirmed. Arum told said: ‘The negotiations have been pleasant, it’s proceeding like every big fight does.
‘We made changes, they accept some, they send it back, back and forth. And all I can say is that the issues are gradually dwindling.
‘That’s what you wanna do in this type of situation, you wanna diminish the number of issues and now the number of issues is less than a handful, so I am very optimistic that this is going to go over the line.’