ANTHONY JOSHUA is being lined up to fight Oleksandr Usyk in August if Tyson Fury cannot agree a step aside deal with Deontay Wilder.
Joshua and Fury were all-but ready to put every heavyweight belt on the line on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.
But that was until the news broke that a US judge ruled in favour of Wilder in arbitration, meaning Fury must now either pay the American to step aside or give him a third fight in their series.
Eddie Hearn, a driving force in securing a deal for the all-British unification, hopes the historic clash can still be saved.
But he admitted it is out of his hands and is lining up a back-up option in Usyk, 34, who is Joshua's WBO mandatory challenger.
According to The Athletic, talks are underway for AJ to face the Ukrainian on either August 21 or 28 should Fury chose to fight Wilder.
Hearn has given Fury's side until the end of the week to make a decision on their next fight before progressing talks with Usyk.
He said on Matchroom Boxing's YouTube channel: “I have been focusing on Plan A. The only fight we had our mind on was Tyson Fury.
“We hope that that fight can still take place on August 14th.
"The game changed last night where we have to have a plan B in place, and probably a plan C as well.
WIN £50,000 with Dream Team Euros
Dream Team Euros is HERE!
The best fantasy football game to accompany Euro 2020 has arrived.
And you can play absolutely FREE for your chance to win the £50,000 jackpot.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR FREE!
Dream Team Euros
- £50,000 jackpot
- The best fantasy football game this summer
- Play in mini-leagues against your mates, colleagues, family members – and some hand-picked celebrities
- FREE to play
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
“We have a couple of different options; of course, the one that springs to mind immediately is the WBO mandatory of Oleksandr Usyk.
“They have been quite patient and I think really, we are in a situation where if Team Fury don’t get themselves together, get their act together, by the end of this week, we will have no option but to look for an alternative fight."
Fury, 32, dethroned Wilder, 35, of the WBC belt in February 2020 but their contract included an immediate rematch.
That never came to fruition amid the coronavirus pandemic and the Gypsy King's team argued the stipulation expired in October.
As a result, they entered talks with Joshua, 31, all while Wilder took his case to civil court.
And after months the decision went his way, meaning Fury is faced with either fighting him or negotiating a step aside deal.
But Wilder's new trainer Malik Scott all-but confirmed on Instagram that they will NOT accept compensation money, instead preferring revenge.
Scott, 40, posted: “Wilder declined and had no interest in step-aside money. Y’all dealing with a whole different type motherf***a over here.
"He want the blood, not that step-aside money. ‘Retribution is upon us’.”
Fury's US promoter Bob Arum also told ESPN: "We're not paying Wilder to step aside.
"It's better to get rid of him. We can make Fury vs AJ for November or December."
The veteran promoter also revealed he has reserved the new 65,000-seater Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for July 24 should Fury have to box Wilder again.
Hearn is arming himself with cover too, having entered talks with Usyk's promoter Alex Krassyuk, but fears full fan capacity in the UK will not be guaranteed for that fight.
He said: “AJ wants to fight this summer, Oleksandr Usyk is the mandatory, we have two or three other options as well.
"In an ideal world, if the right deal could be done, to maintain those belts and to keep the Fury fight alive for December, but for the undisputed as well.
“I had a very good conversation this morning with Alex Krassyuk, he is a partner of ours and we have worked very well with Oleksandr Usyk and I was just very honest.
“I said to him, ‘Team Fury are trying to solve the issue, if they don’t, there’s a very good chance we could be fighting you.’
“So if we are all sensible, let’s move forward, let’s try and look at the options to get that locked in.
"Again, we are in a situation where we just don’t know how likely it is to get a full venue for August in the UK.
“That was one of the reasons it was ruled out for the Fury fight, we couldn’t get the confirmation from Wembley and other venues that we would be allowed full capacity.”
Source: Read Full Article