Oleksandr Usyk vs Joe Joyce ‘still in negotiations’ for key fight that allows Anthony Joshua to face Tyson Fury

James Dielhenn

Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn

Eddie Hearn on Oleksandr Usyk vs Joe Joyce: “I believe that fight will go to purse bids in a couple of weeks. Certainly we will be bidding for that fight.” The Ukrainian defeated Derek Chisora in October.

Last Updated: 21/02/21 7:58pm

Oleksandr Usyk and Joe Joyce’s proposed clash will head to purse bids for promoters to finalise the fight that would enable Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury, says promoter Eddie Hearn.

IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua and WBC titleholder Fury plan a mega-fight this year to decide the heavyweight division’s undisputed No 1.

One of the main roadblocks to that dream fight was Usyk’s status as WBO mandatory challenger but the governing body have moved in favour of accelerating Joshua vs Fury.

Usyk was a hurdle to Joshua vs Fury

Watch Anthony Joshua’s intense and electrifying right-walk

Watch Anthony Joshua’s intense and electrifying right-walk

“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.

“There is history between the two of them from the amateur game.

“It is a fight that we would be interested in putting together.”

Joyce’s manager Sam Jones of S-Jam Boxing confirmed: “We are still in negotiations to get the fight done.”

Joyce is ranked at No 2 by the WBO after overcoming Daniel Dubois in a battle of previously unbeaten British contenders last year.

Joe Joyce is set to face Usyk

Joe Joyce is set to face Usyk

Sky Sports reported in January Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk “received the letter from the WBO saying that they are considering granting sanction for AJ vs Fury”.

Parker is also pursuing WBO title shot

Former WBO champion Joseph Parker can edge closer to a shot at his old belt, if he defeats Junior Fa this Saturday.

Parker is ranked at No 3 by the WBO, just behind Joyce, and manager David Higgins suggested his fighter could even have a stronger claim for a fight with Usyk.

“You have to look at the resumes of the two fighters [Parker and Joyce],” Higgins had recently told Sky Sports.

“Joseph Parker is a former WBO world champion. He has got some wins on his resume, including Carlos Takam, Andy Ruiz and Alexander Dimitrenko.

“He took Anthony Joshua the distance. If Joe beats Junior Fa – and remember Fa is the current WBO No 6 – so if Joe beats Fa, I think on balance of the evidence, he would have to go to No 2.

“But obviously we would lobby the good people of the WBO and that would be at the discretion of their ratings committee.

“It’s an interesting question, but we would hope to go back to No 2.”

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