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WBO grants extension for Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk negotiations

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The original purse bid deadline was earlier this week

Boxing Saudi Arabia - Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua Photo by Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images

It looks as though Anthony Joshua might not have to vacate his WBO belt after all. Eddie Hearn tells iFL TV that they’ve received an extension on the purse bid deadline for his mandated clash with Oleksandr Usyk and have given the Ukrainian’s team a “very fair” offer.

Transcripts courtesy of Boxing News 24:

“Usyk is our preferred opponent, we want to hold onto the belts, but as I’ve seen in some interviews, there is a bit of tiredness of being told who to fight and what split they’re going to get and the inability to have flexibility in AJ’s schedule,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to iFL TV.

“At the same time, he hasn’t worked this year. Do give them up. So, we’ve made Usyk which we feel is a very fair offer. We don’t have a deal yet.

“Again, it’s still our intention in making that fight, but if we can’t reach a deal, then we’ll make other plans.

“AJ is happy to fight Usyk. We want to fight Usyk. If we can make a deal, we’ll take that fight. If we can’t, we’ll move on, but I do think and hope that’s the fight that happens next,” Hearn said.

Per WBO regulations, Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) would have been the beneficiary of an 75/25 split if the fight was held in England and an 80/20 split if they fought elsewhere.

Honestly, I’m for whatever solution gets Joshua, Usyk (18-0, 13 KO), and Joe Joyce back in action as quickly as possible. I know I can’t reasonably expect Joshua’s next move to come together as quickly as Fury-Wilder 3 did, but it’s still a mess.