Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn has claimed that Ukrainian heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk has been making unreasonable demands amid speculation that he will step aside to enable Anthony Joshua‘s highly-anticipated bout with Tyson Fury. Usyk is the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBO heavyweight title, meaning the Watford-born fighter runs the risk of being forced to vacate his belt if he pursues an all-star clash with Fury.
However, he sees the Ukranian’s demands as unrealistic, citing reports that Usyk wants a cut of the fight purse in order to remove himself from the equation.
“I think it’s a situation where… this isn’t really a dig at any of his team, but some people just have the idea that he should be getting millions of dollars to step aside for this fight,” Hearn told Boxing Social.
“Really what will happen is, we will apply to the WBO for the undisputed fight and if they say, ‘No, you need to talk to Oleksandr Usyk’, we will go to Oleksandr Usyk and we will try to make him happy to allow that fight to go on.
“It’s like: do you really want to stop this fight from happening? Now you have to be respected because you’re in the mandatory position, but there is a solution.
“As I’ve said before, this fight between Fury and AJ will happen with all the belts or not one belt at all.
“But the problem is, when there’s a big fight like this, everyone wants… I’ve got to get my words right here. The greed is unbelievable.
“It’s going to come down to the fighters. The fighters are paying millions of dollars in sanction fees. I heard someone say Usyk wants a percentage of AJ and Fury’s purse to step-aside and I was like, ‘Mate!’.
“But there is a solution, and if everyone’s smart together we can find a solution. And I really want it to be undisputed, because that’s always been the dream for AJ and we’ll do everything we can. But we’re not going to be held to ransom by anyone.”
Joshua affirmed his plans to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis with a hard-fought victory over Kubrat Pulev last month.
Meanwhile, Fury is expected to be available to face his compatriot before the end of the year, amid reports that he will avoid being forced to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time.
He was named Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year for 2020, becoming the first Brit to win the award twice after claiming the prize back in 2015.