Surprise, surprise…There’s a “who’s ducking who” disagreement in the muddled Fury vs. Whyte vs. Usyk vs. Joshua mess atop the heavyweight division.
On Thursday, reigning WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury said via social media that he’d be taking on mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte rather than jumping into a title unification bout with 3-belt champ Oleksandr Usyk. The revelation came after weeks of rumors regarding step-aside money being offered to Whyte as well as former champ Anthony Joshua, who had been tied to an immediate rematch with Usyk following his career-stalling loss to the Ukraine native last September. The step-aside deal was reportedly in the neighborhood of $20.4 million in US Dollar equivalent to Joshua and $6.8 million to Whyte.
Apparently, however, that deal is no longer in play and, if Fury’s words are to be believed, it’s because the money just wasn’t enough.
"There are some silly businessman out there," Fury wrote on Twitter after the deal broke down.
"Anthony Joshua"s a coward, Oleksandr Usyk"s a p**** and Dillian Whyte don"t wanna fight…Either fight or do one, you pack of wet lettuces," Fury said.
The WBC champ ten turned his attention to Whyte
"I can"t wait to punch Dillian Whyte"s face right in. I"m going to give him the best hiding he"s ever had in his life. Train hard sucker because you"re getting annihilated, bum."
Promoter Eddie Hearn, meanwhile, disputes Fury’s public take on the debacle. Hearn represents Joshua, Whyte, and is a broadcast partner with Usyk’s team via streaming service DAZN.
The Matchroom Boxing head says that the real culprit for a Fury-Usyk bout breaking down was Fury’s insistence on taking an interim fight before facing Usyk for all the belts.
"I don’t know what Fury is thinking. I saw his post on Instagram…No, he’s lost the money because he turned down the Usyk fight next. That’s the reality," Eddie Hearn told iFL TV.
"I don’t know what he’s thinking, but let’s just get on with the fights that were originally planned [Fury vs. Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk].
"If we had the conversations about allowing Fury to fight for the undisputed title [against Usyk], we’ll have those conversations, but he decided he didn’t want to fight for the undisputed title.
"I saw his post a week ago where he said, ‘You let the Ukrainian take away all your belts. Now I’m going to have to do it.’ You’re not, are you? Because you said, you need a fight in between. Why do you need a fight in between?
"He’s entitled to do anything he wants, but I don’t know what there is to laugh about. AJ stepped up to the plate to fight Oleksander Usyk. Not, ‘I need one in between or hang on, I’ll just do a few posts on Instagram, pretending I want to fight him.’
"I spoke to [Oleksandr’s promoter] Alex Krassyuk last night. They feel Tyson Fury has bottled the [Usyk] fight against Usyk. One thing you’ll find out about Anthony Joshua, he’ll fight anyone, and he’s proven that time and time again.
"No one wants to fight Olekandr Usyk. I don’t blame Tyson Fury, but AJ did it right off the bat. Many people would have dropped that [WBO] belt. It looks like he’s up for fighting him again, and have another go.
"It’s a hard task. Look at the long-form agreement. Tyson said, ‘No, I want an interim. I don’t want to fight Usyk. Straightaway, I want an interim.’ That was another thing that killed it [the step aside deal for Joshua].
"We were all willing to have that conversation, but now it looks like it’s irrelevant. In the end, Fury wanted to fight in March. He wanted to have a warm-up fight and then fight Usyk. In the end, when that fell through, he said, ‘I’ll fight Dillian Whyte instead.’
"I think April 29th is the date where if we win the purse bid [for Fury vs. Whyte] that we have to do the fight by. So, we have to do the fight by then.
"That’s Fury against Whyte. AJ, I think that can be a little bit later. That’ll be in May," Hearn said, regarding plans for the Usyk-Joshua rematch."
Tyson Fury co-promoter Frank Warren won Friday’s purse bid to hold the Fury-Dillian Whyte title fight with a $41 million offer. Per WBC mandated 80-20 split, Fury will make $32.8 million and Whyte will make $8.2 million.