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Eddie Hearn Says Anthony Joshua May Fight Oleksandr Usyk If Tyson Fury Unavailable

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2021

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Anthony Joshua reacts to victory over Kubrat Pulev during the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Heayweight Title fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev at The SSE Arena, Wembley on December 12, 2020 in London, England. A limited number of fans (1000) are welcomed back to sporting venues to watch elite sport across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Andrew Couldridge - Pool/Getty Images)
Andrew Couldridge - Pool/Getty Images

The promoter for Anthony Joshua acknowledged he's weighing possible contingency plans after an arbitrator ruled Tyson Fury has to fight Deontay Wilder by Sept. 15. 

Joshua is tentatively scheduled to face Fury in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Speaking with Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn said he and Joshua's camp "have to have a Plan B in place if Team Fury don't get their act together." Hearn floated a possible matchup with Oleksandr Usyk.

Matchroom Boxing @MatchroomBoxing

🗣️ “The only fight we had our mind on was Tyson Fury. The game changed last night, we have to have a Plan B in place if Team Fury don’t get their act together” - @EddieHearn exclusive out now<br><br>Watch in full ⬇️https://t.co/7zXFOlJ2Bj pic.twitter.com/I31WsZECYb

Usyk, who's unbeaten with 13 knockouts in 18 professional fights, is the mandatory WBO challenger. The 34-year-old would be the most logical opponent for Joshua if Fury is taken off the table for the time being.

The British heavyweight would likely see his earnings take a hit, though. ESPN's Mark Kriegel reported in April that Joshua and Fury would each get around $75 million for their fight in Saudi Arabia.

There's almost no chance Joshua vs. Usyk could generate that kind of money.

Fury and his team could work around the arbitrator's ruling and hash out an agreement with Wilder to put a third bout between the two stars on hold. Based on Bob Arum's comments to Kriegel, that may be a nonstarter, though.

"We're not paying Wilder to step aside," Arum said. "It's better to get rid of him and go about our business. We can make the Fury-Joshua fight for November or December."

Through no real fault of his own, Joshua might get left out in the cold.

As Hearn explained, August isn't that far off, and the heavyweight champion will need enough time to not only finalize the logistics of a new event but also train for a different opponent. 

Hearn said he's looking to have a resolution by the end of the week.