Where does Tyson Fury’s win leave the world heavyweight scene?
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Tyson Fury has been given 48 hours to secure a sensational undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk. After the Ukrainian beat Anthony Joshua for his WBA, IBF and WBO belts in September, the British fighter duly triggered a rematch clause, with the pair having started negotiations for a second bout this spring.
Fury meanwhile, had seemingly been preparing his purse bid for a defence of his WBC title against Dillian Whyte – but in a dramatic u-turn his team have now offered Joshua a deal to step aside and let him face Usyk.
‘The Gypsy King’s’ representatives have requested the WBC give them until 6pm on Friday to strike a deal with Usyk or Whyte before purse bids are called. ‘The Body Snatcher’ and promoter Eddie Hearn had already requested a delay from their side on Tuesday.
A subsequent WBC statement confirmed: “The World Boxing Council has received once again requests from the teams of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, to extend the period of free negotiations.
“The WBC has granted this final extension and if there is no agreement, a purse bid will be held this coming Friday, January 28.”
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Whyte has reportedly agreed in principle to pass up his mandatory WBC shot at Fury – in order to allow his compatriot to face Usyk – but as of yet no contracts have been signed and ‘AJ’ now appears the critical figure in the saga.
He is set to make around £15 million by agreeing to step aside, and as a part of the deal, would be guaranteed the winner of Fury against Usyk within a set time period and with it, a chance to hold all the world belts in the heavyweight division.
However, the 32-year-old’s reputation would in all likelihood be tainted, with the inevitable perception of putting money before the sport by declining to face the man who unanimously out-pointed him in London.
Discussions between Joshua and his team are now ongoing, with Fury, 33, waiting anxiously on the outcome.
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Promoter Hearn denied that Joshua’s decision will be financially motivated, but argued there was a logic in him taking a backseat after recently trialling a number of new coaches as he seeks to replace long-time mentor Rob McCracken.
“There definitely no deal done,” Hearn said on the DAZN Boxing Show. “Long way to go in terms of detail.
“There is a smart play here somewhere, but AJ’s not about the money.
“If the plan makes sense – work with a new trainer, maybe have a fight first, go into a much bigger fight – yeah, I can see the sense in it.
Fury, who in October concluded his trilogy with Deontay Wilder with a thrilling win over the American in Vegas, has grown increasingly frustrated in recent weeks over Whyte’s refusal to accept his financial proposals for a bout.
Whyte, 34, was made mandatory challenger despite having to withdraw from his fight with Otto Wallin before Christmas because of injury, and was unhappy over the suggested 80-20 split in favour of the champion.
Fury had previously said he would “splatter his rival” when the pair met, but has now been reliant on Whyte essentially doing him a favour to pave the way for a possible fight with Usyk, 35.
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