Anthony Joshua has a £15million offer on the table to halve his undisputed heavyweight world title workload – but it comes with dangerous losses.
The 32-year-old Watford ace currently has none of the four major titles – when Oleksandr Usik ditched him for WBA, IBF and WBO belts in September – and no head to lead his charge in rematch revenge. There was no trainer.
But if he accepts the big move before him, to let 33-year-old WBC king Tyson Fury meet 35-year-old Ukraine’s southpaw, he may soon go to bed with the announced new coach and get A guaranteed shot at the winner and holder of all four belts.
It sounds simple but there are plenty of reasons why Fury’s American promoter Bob Arum has called the situation “total chaos”—particularly the long-overdue imperative of both Usyk and AJ longing for fellow Londoner Dillian White’s WBC crown. shot.
But there are too many stumbling blocks that can overwhelm even the most lucrative night any fighter is paid to take.
the champion gets injured
Usyk and Fury are nearing the end of their illustrious careers in boxing.
And it would be nearly impossible to insure against the winner if he had a career-threatening cut or injury.
Fury suffered a 47-stitch cut to his right eye in a 2019 bloodbath win over Otto Wallin and something like that – even in another victory – would delay or kibosh any future fights. could.
Usyak had a career-best performance against AJ but has previously suffered a shoulder injury.
And a 12-line battle with a man’s 20th monster of 6 feet 9 inches — likely four stone heavy — could come at a life-changing price.
And all the contracts in the world couldn’t rule out a doctor who couldn’t compete a man who could scatter all four titles around the division and drop Joshua back to square one.
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Not only do the two rivals have two battles inside the ring—White won their amateur clash and AJ won in his 2015 pro barnstormer—but they were now battling for their crack at the WBC title.
White has been offered nearly £5 million to allow for the Fury v. Usyk fight – but he also wants a legally binding shot at the crown he has pursued since 2017.
Even as the £20 million Joshua and White prepare to split, their bank managers keep smiling – how and who will decide which of them will pay attention to the winner first?
Imagine being guaranteed a shot at the winner of Fury versus Usyk sitting on the sidelines for a year and then ending up in the first undisputed decisive draw in more than 20 years!
It was a 33-1 long shot when it happened in Fury’s first clash with Deontay Wilder and the cynical result would be even less when two chess masters like Fury and Usyk meet for the highest possible bet.
A draw would require a rematch and it would be a disaster for AJ’s plan.
aj free time
Joshua is expected to hire a new head trainer soon and it seems dangerous and impossible to jump into the biggest fight of his life without a test event.
Much more probably—if he lets Fury and Usyak dance—is that he puts up a heated battle to adapt to his new cornman and try out their chemistry.
AJ’s high profile and thrilling style means he won’t be in an easy fight without much hope and the severity of his 2019 stoppage loss to Mexican underdog Andy Ruiz Jr. has always portrayed him as vulnerable on some courts.
AJ will not only have to win his 27th Pro Fight in style, but he must find the right rapport with the new trainer, who will be tasked with coming up with a plan to defeat a 6ft 9in switch hitter – or a genius Southpaw. Very little space of time.
If a maverick like Fury conquers all four heavyweight tiles in the world, there’s every chance he could retire undefeated as one of the greatest players to ever do so.
If a devout 35-year-old like Usik—who already has Olympic gold and every cruiserweight belt in his locker—receives the biggest prize in the sport without a single loss, he too may be missing out on the gods.
But then it would mean that the four belts he had accumulated would be stretched out as the sanctioning bodies create new champions from their independent ranking system.
It really seems now or never.
So there will be an undisputed contract to ensure that whoever wins this coveted fight is not allowed to retire.
The only way such a demand would be enforced would be to impose a hefty fine on any winner who tries to exit the game in any way without cracking Joshua to greatness.