Anthony Joshua denies claims he has accepted £15m step aside deal so Tyson Fury can fight Oleksandr Usyk

 (PA)
(PA)

Anthony Joshua has denied he is about to accept a £15million deal that would see him step aside from a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk to allow the Ukrainian to fight Tyson Fury.

Reports in The Telegraph claimed Joshua was close to accepting the deal, paving the way for Usyk to fight Fury in April in a huge undisputed heavyweight bout. The Middle East is the most likely location should that fight take place.

Joshua, who was comfortably beaten by Usyk in the first fight but has triggered a rematch clause, has insisted no such deal is in place.

He said in a video posted online: “You know what’s mad about all these interviews I see?

“I see certain interviews that quote what I said and I think to myself, ‘I haven’t done no interviews’. I’m hearing people saying: ‘AJ accepts £15million to step aside’. I ain’t signed no contract; I ain’t seen no contract.

“So as it stands, stop listening to the bulls**t until it comes from me. I’m the man in control of my own destiny, I’m the man that handles my business.

“I’m a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way. Don’t listen to the bulls**t from other sources. If I tell you something then you know it’s real.”

Any agreement would likely need Dillian Whyte’s agreement, with the Brit currently the mandatory challenger to Fury’s WBC belt.

Negotiations between the two parties have so far proved difficult, particularly after the 80:20 split was set in Fury’s favour, and the deadline for a deal to be reached has been pushed back for a third time, until this Wednesday. It remains to be seen whether negotiations will progress, or if attention will also turn to persuading Whyte to step aside.