Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk set for rematch after possible Tyson Fury undisputed title fight disappears

"Usyk never hoped to fight Fury. He regarded it like an option or an opportunity" | Anthony Joshua set to take on Oleksandr Usyk again after WBC order Tyson Fury to open negotiations with Dillian Whyte

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Anthony Joshua's brutally honest verdict on losing to Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will renew hostilities after an “opportunity” for an undisputed title fight with Tyson Fury vanished.

WBC heavyweight champion Fury was ordered by the governing body on Tuesday night to begin negotiations for a fight against Dillian Whyte, who has been officially named as his mandatory challenger.

Joshua triggered his option for a rematch shortly after losing the IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Usyk.

Dillian Whyte, Tyson Fury
Image: The WBC ordered Fury to begin talks to fight Whyte

But Usyk's team believed Joshua "could consider stepping aside", leaving the Ukrainian to decide every major title in the division with Fury.

The WBC's ruling on Tuesday has ended those considerations, Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports: "Exactly - AJ is next for Usyk. That is the way.

"Some talks occurred and they are in progress. But the basic platform is the rematch.

"Usyk never hoped to fight Fury.

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'Joshua got his tactics wrong against Usyk'

"He regarded it like an option or an opportunity. But the main direction never changed."

Fury's US-based promoter, Top Rank's Bob Arum, previously said: "If Joshua decides not to exercise his rematch against Usyk and decides to step aside, the fight we would like to make is between Usyk and Fury.

"Then Joshua can fight the winner of the undisputed fight.

"That's what Tyson would like. And I represent Tyson. That is his preference."

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Josh Taylor's analysis of Usyk defeating Joshua

Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang's adviser Terry Lane said: "We heard some chatter regarding AJ [needing a new opponent] which we are open to."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn did not comment when asked about the former champion possibly stepping aside from his rematch with Usyk, but did previously say: "It's all he has thought about since the night of the first fight."

Whyte's agonisingly long wait for a first-ever world title shot looks set to finally end after the WBC named him as Fury's mandatory challenger.

Tyson Fury
Image: Tyson Fury twice defeated Deontay Wilder

"He just keeps making excuses," Whyte had previously said about his pursuit of Fury.

"Hopefully now he's got no choice."

Fury told Sky Sports about his plans last month: "Whoever is available, whatever makes sense."

Sky Sports Boxing schedule

Sunday December 12 - Top Rank in New York
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey
Jared Anderson vs Oleksandr Teslenko
Nico Ali Walsh

Sunday December 18 - Top Rank in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne - IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles

Saturday January 29 - BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin - IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles

Saturday February 19 - BOXXER in Manchester - Sky Sports Box Office
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook

Saturday February 26 - Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall - undisputed super-lightweight titles

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