Eddie Hearn sets record straight over ‘exaggerated’ rumours that Anthony Joshua would step-aside for Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua stepping aside to let Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury slug it out in a unification fight is “virtually impossible”, says Eddie Hearn.

The promoter had previously spoken of the possibility of it happening if an almighty financial offer was on the table for Joshua to renounce his rematch clause with Ukrainian Usyk – with at least £40 million the valuation mentioned.

But the British fighter himself had been reluctant to discuss such a move, while the World Boxing Council officially named Dillian Whyte as the mandatory challenger for Fury last week.

Hearn says that the WBC’s decision makes it hugely improbable that any changes will be made, with Fury set to meet Whyte and the rematch between Joshua and Usyk to go ahead.

“There’s been lots of talk about Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte. Rumours of a step aside offer for Joshua are exaggerated,” Hearn said in his BBC Sport column.

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“His focus has always been on rematching Usyk. If there was a conversation to be had we’d have it, but the announcement from the WBC makes that virtually impossible. Dillian is now Fury’s mandatory, it’s been a long time coming.

“We await official confirmation of the split for that fight, but it’s almost nailed on we will see Fury v Whyte in the Spring of 2022.”

Hearn stated his belief that Whyte has a “great chance” of pulling off a “shock” win over Fury, while adding that Josuha’s “work continues behind the scenes” as he remains “completely focused on the task ahead” – being the rematch fight.

Expectations will now doubtless turn to a potential meeting of the two victors from the impending fights, to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion later in the calendar year.

Whyte had been due to fight Otto Wallin earlier this year before cancelling late on, while Fury beat Deontay Wilder in October in their trilogy meeting – with the American now reportedly considering retirement after back-to-back defeats to the Gypsy King.

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