Oleksandr Usyk’s manager Alexander Krassyuk says promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren are pushing the World Boxing Organisation to sanction a fight between his client and Joe Joyce for the governing body’s interim world title.
“But this is not the right way to go as greed breeds poverty,” says Krassyuk who believes this is to avoid the step aside payment for Usyk which remains a stumbling block as to whether or not the Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury fight is an undisputed one.
Arum and Warren, who co-promote Fury, along with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn are working on finalising a two-fight deal for the division’s leading duo with the first fight looking likely for May or June overseas. And while completion percentage numbers go up week after week to fill column inches, the fact is both parties need Team Usyk to be in agreement one way or another to allow the gargantuan contest to be for all the titles.
“If the whole world wants to see Fury vs AJ taking place then promoters have to treat Usyk with respect and honour his mandatory position, which he has been holding for one-and-a-half years already,” said Krassyuk.
Usyk signed a co-promotional deal with Matchroom in 2018, alongside existing promoters K2, which led to the then undisputed cruiserweight king beating Tony Bellew in Manchester before moving up to heavyweight. Injuries have stagnated the Ukrainian’s progress with the sport’s big men, but he did manage to impress against heavyweight war horse Dereck Chisora last October. Usyk has one fight remaining on his deal with K2 Promotions, after his contract with the Essex outfit expired recently.
Krassyuk reminded the boxing public that Usyk has already stepped aside once without taking any payment.
“Usyk gave way for AJ vs [Kubrat] Pulev without charging anyone a single dollar on the condition that he fights the winner next. If this agreement is not [in] place anymore and the focus is on AJ vs Fury, then promoters have to be more flexible.”
He added: “If all involved parties claim that they are willing to put everything on the line just to make the biggest heavyweight clash of all time for the undisputed championship happen then please contact us and show your real intentions.”
Joyce, who was last seen out-thinking and out-fighting rising star Daniel Dubois in November, has already stated his intentions that he wants to fight Usyk. After beating Dubois, the new British and European champion said, “I’m coming for Usyk,” with the pronunciation of the name a play on the impression that Chisora used in the build up to his own fight against Usyk.
Hearn has already told Boxing Social that Joshua vs Fury will happen regardless of the situation of the titles. The ideal scenario for them is that the fight becomes undisputed with Usyk stepping aside. Whether that happens via financial reward or an interim title fight against Joyce remains to be seen.
Photos: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing