Confusion reigns at heavyweight with AJ report, mandatory bids, and UFC
Heavyweight boxing fans woke up to a storm on Monday as the glamor division caused considerable confusion with several conflicting reports.
Firstly, Anthony Joshua is “to accept” a $20 million offer to step aside and allow Tyson Fury to fight Oleksandr Usyk in an undisputed battle.
Gareth A. Davies wrote in The Telegraph that AJ was on the brink of taking the money. However, in the very first line of his article, it states, ‘if Joshua accepts.’
Therefore, that’s not a done deal, and we can assume to believe it when we see it on the contract.
Secondly, UFC champion Francis Ngannou fights Fury next if you take what the Nigerian grappler states as gospel.
Even Fury stoked the fires of a potential cross-codes clash by completely disregarding any mandatory duties with the World Boxing Council to talk up the fight.
After Ngannou defeated Cyril Gane on points, the WBC heavyweight titleholder said: “Congratulations, Francis Ngannou, but if you want to make some real money come and see ‘The Gypsy King’.”
Two possible opponents for Fury to chew on this year. But everyone seems to be forgetting about a particular purse bid happening on Wednesday.
The three-times delayed auction for the rights to stage Fury vs. number one contender and interim WBC ruler Dillian Whyte goes ahead in just two days.
That doesn’t leave much scope for Fury to consider Usyk or Ngannou before duties get fulfilled against his British rival.
If Fury even thinks about signing with Ngannou, he will lose his green and gold belt. However, it won’t be that straightforward with WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman.
The WBC chief is a known advocate of undisputed fights. He will have a lot to discuss with Fury and Whyte if the Usyk encounter is genuinely looming.
As per World Boxing Council rules, an undisputed fight gazumps a mandatory and could see Whyte having to wait his turn again despite arbitration over his purse split.
That twenty percent could be the least of his problems if stablemate Joshua moved aside to allow Fury vs. Usyk. Promoter Eddie Hearn, who handles both, will face a massive headache over the decision.
For now, Fury vs. Whyte remains the favored bout to make it over the line in the spring, with Joshua vs. Usyk II a close second.
If the whole thing explodes in Whyte’s face, then it will be interesting to see how it plays out as the heavyweight division goes haywire.
Tyson Fury sure knows how to play the field.
The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.
Phil Jay – Editor of World Boxing News since 2010 with over one billion views. Follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.