Eddie Hearn will look to revive talks for a long-awaited showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua after the former’s bout against Oleksandr Usyk fell through.
Fury and Usyk’s proposed mega-fight, which promised to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000, was pronounced dead on Wednesday evening after the Ukrainian’s team threw in the towel following months of strenuous negotiations.
Despite boasting three of the four recognised world championships, Usyk accepted a questionable 70-30 purse split out of his favour in order to seal it, only for Fury to allegedly throw several other demands into the mix.
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk now insists their April 29 battle at Wembley is off the cards as his man has grown tired of the Gypsy King’s antics, which leaves both men free to defend their titles elsewhere.
And Hearn, whose own negotiations with Fury’s team hit a snag at the end of last year, believes Usyk’s loss could well prove Joshua’s gain if he gets past Jermaine Franklin at The O2 next weekend.
Eddie Hearn is ready to revive talks for Tyson Fury (L) to face Anthony Joshua (R) this year
Fury’s proposed undisputed battle with Oleksandr Usyk (R) has been pronounced dead
Hearn told Sportsmail on Wednesday that he now wants to make Fury vs Joshua happen
‘The AJ fight is worth so much more financially to Tyson Fury than the Usyk fight,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘So for me, the way I’m looking at it is, if AJ does a job on Franklin I would like to go straight into the Tyson Fury fight.
‘We’ve already got the terms. We’ve got the basis of that fight agreed, which we would still accept coming through a victory on April 1st, and I would like to make AJ against [Fury] and I would make that now.
Speaking before official confirmation that Fury v Usyk was off, Hearn added: ‘If that Usyk fight [with Fury] doesn’t get over the line, I’ll sit down with George Warren and I will thrash out a deal to get that fight over the line.
‘But [Joshua] still has to win April 1st. He’s coming back from those defeats, it’s a very tough fight. I’m nervous, but hopefully he can make a statement and then call out Tyson Fury after that.
‘Josh also his reservations over how serious Tyson Fury is.’
Joshua’s concerns with Fury stem from previous experience. Back in September, still reeling from his second consecutive defeat at the hands of Usyk, the crestfallen star was presented a shock lifeline when his domestic rival offered him a shot at the WBC title.
Then came a series of unrealistic and quite simply unnecessary deadlines set by Fury to get the British blockbuster over the line. As a result, talks fizzled out and the champion turned his attention to Usyk.
Now Usyk has endured his own difficulties in negotiations with Fury, who recently took to social media to demand a rematch clause be removed from their fight contract despite his team originally insisting on it.
Usyk’s team have thrown in the towel in negotiations with Fury, claiming he ‘went too far’
Hearn doesn’t believe Fury is scared of Usyk, but insists he knows ‘how difficult the fight is’
Yet, as the self-proclaimed and universally-considered No 1 heavyweight on the planet, why would Fury price himself out of a meeting with Usyk, a natural cruiserweight?
‘I don’t think that Tyson Fury’s scared of fighting anyone,’ Hearn continued. ‘He’s a smart guy. He knows how difficult the fight is, and I don’t think he believed that Usyk would take 70-30.
‘So call it clever negotiations, call it a double bluff, whatever you want to do. It’s a little bit like with the AJ stuff. He came out and said “this is the deal, this is the date.” And we went back and said December 17 is actually [better], can we do that date?
‘He said “no, it has to be December 3rd or no fight.” And it’s like why? Why? Because the reason being is he thought AJ wouldn’t accept December 3rd. So AJ came back and went “f*** it, I’ll fight December 3rd.” Then we went back and it broke down from there.
‘So it feels a little bit similar in that respect where he calls the terms that he thinks the opponent won’t take.’
Hearn has drawn comparisons between their own negotiations with Fury and Usyk’s frustration
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren is refusing to accept defeat in negotiations with Usyk, phoning into talkSPORT on Wednesday and promising to do everything possible to save the undisputed bout.
And while his eyes are already lighting up at the prospect of Fury vs Joshua, Hearn expects it to be rescued.
He added: ‘I mean, if you’re choosing someone to believe out of Usyk and Fury, I know who you’d believe. But I don’t buy that the fight’s dead. I never felt like the fight would happen April 29, it’s five weeks on Saturday. It feels like it’s too close.
‘But maybe they can talk it around. Of course for us, our focus is on April 1 with AJ and him making a statement on that date, it’s only 10 days away now. So we want him to produce a statement that gets everybody talking about him again in that mix of elite heavyweights.’
Source: Daily Mail Online