The big-money twist, described by Anthony Joshua as 'bullsh*t', could change the destiny of the heavyweight title
British boxing golden boy Anthony Joshua has emphatically denied that he will be tempted into abandoning his revenge mission against Oleksandr Usyk, responding to a report which claims the Ukrainian technician is set for a huge unification fight against unbeaten giant Tyson Fury.
Londoner Joshua is on the verge of taking a pay-off worth more than $20 million to step aside from his agreed rematch with fellow Olympic champion Usyk, The Telegraph has claimed.
Joshua had long been linked with a fight against familiar verbal antagonist Fury in the Middle East which had been expected to be the most lucrative boxing match in history.
Usyk is now said to be set to take up that challenge in a huge payday against feared brawler Fury, who battered American Deontay Wilder to retain his WBC crown in one of the most memorable fights of 2021.
Leading negotiators reportedly spent the weekend in comprehensive talks about Fury's much-anticipated next fight, with the Mancunian's US promoter, Bob Arum, quoted by the outlet to have called the talks "chaos" and a "mess".
"Everybody in boxing wants to see the undisputed fight between Tyson and Usyk," said Frank Warren, Fury's UK promoter, according to the report. "I want to see it just as a fan. So that is the fight we are trying to make."
Purse bids for Fury's mandatory defense against also-ran and compatriot Dillian Whyte, when the challenger would be offered 20 percent of the bounty, have been delayed three times.
There is far less public appetite to see Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and was knocked out by Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin in 2020, face Fury next.
"It's a saga but if we can keep things between us, we can get something over the line one way or another," Warren was quoted as saying, with a date at the Principality Stadium in Wales also mooted for March 26.
Joshua was not impressed. "You know what's bad about all these interviews I see? I see interviews that quote what I said," he was portrayed saying by iFL.
"I think to myself, 'I ain't done no interviews.' Where did this person get this information from? I see people saying 'AJ accepts Pound 15m to step aside.'
Warning: video contains swearing
"I ain't signed no contract, I ain't seen no contract. As it stands, stop listening to the bullsh*t until it comes from me."
Joshua was beaten on points by Usyk in London in September 2021. Fury has derided both of his leading rivals in characteristic fashion, most recently telling heavyweight legend Mike Tyson that he would have "chinned" both of the "p*ssies".
Fury would potentially fight Usyk for four belts but Joshua claims he holds the power. "I'm the man in control of my destiny," he insisted.
"I'm the man who handles my business. I'm a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way.
"Don't listen to the bullsh*t from other sources. If I tell you something then you know it's real."