Joshua won’t step aside from Usyk rematch

ANTHONY JOSHUA is already “physically and mentally” preparing for a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, a firm rebuttal to Tyson Fury’s hopes of securing his own undisputed fight.

WBC champion Fury’s “preference” for his next opponent would be Usyk, in a battle to crown the division’s No 1 heavyweight, rather than Dillian Whyte, his promoter Bob Arum had told Sky Sports.

But Joshua has rebuffed the suggestion he may “step aside” from his rematch with Usyk.

“AJ is already in camp physically and mentally for the Usyk rematch, and it’s all he has thought about since the night of the first fight,” his promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports.

“I have a meeting planned with (Usyk’s promoter) Alex Krassyuk to start working on proposed venues for the spring rematch.

“It’s a huge fight and we believe AJ can become a three-time world heavyweight champion.”

Usyk delivered a masterclass to win the IBF, WBA and WBO belts from Joshua who immediately triggered his right to a rematch.

“We have three options under consideration – the UK, Ukraine and the Middle East,” Usyk’s promoter Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

“Hopefully by the end of 2021, we will be in the position to take the final decision.”

A WBC deadline for Fury and Usyk to agree an undisputed title fight has since expired – they were never in talks because of Joshua’s swift decision to exercise his rematch clause.

The same WBC ruling claimed, if no deal was struck between Fury and Usyk, then Fury would be forced to face the interim champion, Dillian Whyte.

But the WBC opted not to name a mandatory challenger for Fury this week, despite the expectation that they could end Whyte’s long wait for an opportunity.

Joshua’s preparation to face Usyk again has seen him travel to the United States for training sessions with Robert Garcia, Virgil Hunter, Eddy Reynoso and Ronnie Shields.

General Sports