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Joshua confident he can persuade ‘reasonable’ Usyk to step aside for Fury’s showdown

Anthony Joshua set to defend his three world heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev in Decembe

Anthony Joshua believes he can charm Oleksandr Usyk into stepping aside for his date with Tyson Fury.

The Ukraine southpaw is AJ’s overdue mandatory challenger and wants either the WBO belt, or a hefty step-aside fee, to let the undisputed decider happen.

Luckily for WBA, IBF and WBO boss AJ – who needs to snatch the Gypsy King’s WBC belt for total supremacy – he and Usyk are Matchroom stablemates with promoter Eddie Hearn.

And 31-year-old Josh fancies his chances of sweet-talking the undisputed cruiserweight king into waiting a little longer for his crack at the heavyweight belts.

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“I think Usyk will be keen to step aside and let the fight happen,” AJ said.

“We’ve reached out to his management team.

“He’s a reasonable person and he’ll understand the magnitude of this situation.”

Usyk, 33, told SunSport last month that he was considering letting the all-English clash happen as it “could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

But shrewd AJ is ready with plans A and B as he reaches a huge crossroads in his career.

He said: “If I go right I’ve got Tyson Fury, tough fight. If I go left, I’ve got Usyk, another tough fight.

“Ideally I’ll go right but ultimately all I want to do is focus on the fight. It’s a challenge for me.

“I respect Fury, he’s done great things. But I want to challenge myself.

“If that’s with Tyson Fury for the WBC title I promise you I will go that route.

“I will take that opportunity with both hands and both feet.”

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