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Joshua allowing Fury and Usyk clash would be great for heavyweight division, says Briggs

By Tom Patey

London, December 1: Anthony Joshua stepping aside from his Oleksandr Usyk rematch would be a "great step for the heavyweight division", says former American boxer Shannon Briggs.

Joshua is set for a second bout in early 2022 with Usyk, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF titles on a unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

The Briton has since hinted he would step out the way for WBC champion Tyson Fury, who is awaiting a decision as to whether he has to face mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte, to challenge Usyk to crown an undisputed champion.

While believing a bout between the two British boxers, Joshua and Fury, would be an entertaining meeting, Briggs would like to see a bout to become the undisputed champion first.

"The Fury-Joshua would be a good fight," Briggs, who held a world heavyweight title twice, told Stats Perform.

"It's a very interesting fight to analyse and to think about which Joshua is going to show up. We've got to find out which Josh was going to show up.

"I think that if Joshua steps aside and lets Fury fight Usyk, it might not be a bad idea. I really think it might not be a bad idea, and Anthony fights the winner.

"I think it'd be a great step for the heavyweight division, uniting the belts, and then Joshua would get the winner. He was the champion, he was the guy. I don't want to say it was a fluke, but he was upset by a great guy, a tough guy to fight.

"I don't care who fought Usyk. Usyk is a machine. He's not like normal people. He's not like normal humans. This man can handstand on his arms for an hour. This is what I was told. This man is in phenomenal shape.

"As the rounds go on, he gets stronger. As you can see in the Joshua fight in the 12th round, he put his foot on the gas. I think that he's going to be a tough guy to beat for Fury, for anybody.

"Maybe not Fury because of the height and the size, but we're going to see. That's what makes it great, because the interest is there. If Joshua is to step aside and let him fight Usyk, it might not be bad. Just a thought, and then he fights the winner."

Indeed, Usyk is a phenomenal machine, having held world champion status in two weight classes while he is one of only four boxers to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles.

Briggs, who collected 53 of his 60 wins via knockout, appreciates the class of Usyk as he reiterated the 34-year-old's impressive abilities.

"Again, like I said earlier, the fight with Usyk is a battle," he added. "It's not an easy fight, it's a tough fight.

"It's a 50-50 chance. [Actually], it's more like a 60-40 chance that you lose because he's in phenomenal shape, he's a freak of nature, and he's not normal.

"On top of all of that, he's a southpaw. It's awkward, it's coming from another way. You've got to have super conditioning and step to him.

"You've got to be able to punish him and knock him out, but you can't be boxing him from the outside. You've got to wear him down. He's slippery, he's moving, he's awkward. You've got to be in tip-top shape to beat a guy like that."

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Story first published: Wednesday, December 1, 2021, 0:50 [IST]
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