Anthony Joshua ‘completely shut down’ an offer from Tyson Fury’s team to step aside and let his British rival fight Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
‘AJ’ was beaten comprehensively by Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September and relinquished his WBA, WBO and IBF titles to the Ukrainian.
Joshua triggered a rematch clause and is set to return to the ring in the first quarter of 2022 in a bid to regain his belts.
There has been suggestions Joshua could give up the Usyk rematch to enable him to fight Fury, the WBC and Ring Magazine champion, next instead.
Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter in the US, also mentioned to talkSPORT a step aside deal had been mooted between the two sides.
But there appears zero prospect of that happening with Fury now in line to face Dillian Whyte after the WBC ordered him as the mandatory challenger.
David KD Ghansa of Joshua’s management team has revealed the conversations about actually stepping aside were succinct, to say the least, with AJ not willing to seriously entertain the prospect of giving up the chance to avenge his rematch defeat to Usyk.
“In complete honesty, me and Eddie have had conversations with Freddie [Cunningham, Joshua’s manager] and a few of the other guys,” Ghansa told talkSPORT.
“The day that we actually slightly put it to him, we got shut down – it was a complete shutdown.
“AJ knows that, as a management team, we are going to explore all options for him. But the main thing is that he is focused on putting right what he needs to.
“As a management team, we are exploring all the best options and we will put them to him. Ultimately it will be his decision, but he has not entertained it the way it is out there as being entertained.
“So personally from him, I don’t even think we finished that conversation on it, so Usyk.”