Frank Warren expects Oleksandr Usyk vs Joe Joyce to take place before Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua meet later this year.
The significance of a clash between the former cruiserweight king and the unbeaten Londoner is massive as it would allow Fury and Joshua to clash for the undisputed world heavyweight championship. The first time it has happened since Lennox Lewis claimed all the belts by beating Evander Holyfield back in 1999.
Warren, who promotes Joyce, says the 35-year-old (12-0) and Usyk (18-0) will meet for the WBO interim title, with the winner getting a shot at the Fury vs Joshua victor. It had been feared that WBO mandatory Usyk might be a blocker to the all-British unification match.
Usyk vs Joyce update
Warren told ESPN there are now no major stumbling blocks, explaining: “The Deontay Wilder arbitration hasn’t been resolved and we feel comfortable in our position. The TV is being worked on and it will be resolved. Usyk and Joe Joyce will fight for the WBO interim title, the winner of Fury-Joshua will eventually have to fight the winner of that fight.
“We exclusively promote Joe Joyce and are trying to put the fight with Usyk together, I would think it happens before Fury-Joshua.”
Joyce may be 35, but with only 12 fights as a professional so far, Warren believes he has plenty left in the tank for the battles that lie ahead.
“As a professional, there’s no miles on the clock with Joe, he looked fresh against Daniel Dubois and he came in light for the fight. Usyk is 34, he’s only had two fights at heavyweight and I don’t he’s ever going to be a big heavyweight at his age, so I just think Joe will have too much for him.”
Fury vs Joshua deal is close
As for Fury vs Joshua negotiations, Warren repeated the mantra we’ve heard from Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum recently – a deal is very very close and all parties are confident it will happen in 2021.
“We will see it this year, we are at a stage where we are not far off getting it done and announcing it.
“It’s the biggest event by far I have been involved in. It’s two Brits fighting for all four heavyweight belts, the first time in history that will happen.
“We did Frank Bruno-Mike Tyson in the US which was big, big pay per view numbers, but I think this will eclipse it even without 90,000 at Wembley because there will be a big site fee.”
The bout will likely take place outside the UK due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A number of territories are bidding to stage the bout – with the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai leading the way.
With a huge site fee expected, and the bout expected to smash domestic pay-per-view records, Fury and Joshua could earn around $100million each for their night’s work. And that is before the rematch in what is expected to be a two-fight deal.