LONDON — World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has parked a potential unification fight with Oleksandr Usyk and moved his sights toward fellow British heavyweight Anthony Joshua.
In a video published on social media on Tuesday, Fury — the WBC champion — said he was willing to offer Joshua 40% of the purse for a title fight before the end of the year.
“He doesn’t have any excuses now not to take it,” Fury said. “He can’t say I’ve low-balled him and offered him 20 or 30%. I’ve offered (his) people 40% — take it or leave it.”
The unbeaten Fury appears to have gone back on his decision to retire in the wake of beating another British fighter, Dillian Whyte, in front of around 90,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium in April.
Fury’s hopes of landing a fight with Usyk, who retained the WBA, WBO and IBF belts by beating Joshua in Saudi Arabia last month, were dashed when the Ukrainian said he did not intend to fight again this year.
Joshua had intended to work his way back up to being a three-time champion, maybe facing opponents in the second tier of the heavyweight division after losing three of his last five bouts.
Fury’s offer might turn his head, though, and Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn suggested the all-British fight could happen if Fury’s offer stood up.
“Personally, I don’t believe Fury is serious about this,” Hearn told British radio station talkSPORT, “but if he is … 100% we will sit down and make the fight.
“I would love to get really excited about this, because it’s the fight that I get stopped in the street for more than any fight that could be made and it’s a fight that AJ has wanted for a long time."
Hearn said he has told Fury’s promoters to “get the details and the offer over to us and I’ll take it to AJ.”
“We didn’t expect this opportunity, but it’s a great opportunity to fight for the world title in the biggest fight in boxing and we will definitely look at it,” Hearn said.
Fury’s British promoter, Frank Warren, said they were set to send a written offer across to Hearn on Tuesday, with the proposed bout to take place “in the U.K. and hopefully in November.”
More AP boxing: https://apnews.com/hub/boxing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports