Former unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has admitted he would consider step aside money to allow WBC champion Tyson Fury to face WBA, WBO and IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua activated his rematch clause against the Ukrainian after losing via a split decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September and is expected to face Usyk for a second time in early 2022.
However, with no date or venue set, and WBC mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte embroiled in a legal battle with the sanctioning body, an undisputed heavyweight title clash could happen sooner rather than later.
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Speaking to IFL TV, Joshua was quick to dismiss any rumours that he had personally been offered a step aside fee.
"I think people know not to approach me with that rubbish,” Joshua said.
“That is bulls—. It may have come to my team, but they know not to bring that to me.
"Let me be real, it's not about the money, it's about the respect. What I want out of this game, number one is respect. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me.
"Second thing is to go down as a throwback fighter, somebody who was willing to fight the best in their division so people know me as a true fighter."
However, despite his anger about being offered a step aside fee, Joshua did admit an offer would be considered if the money was right.
"Step aside in terms of, I don't know if that goes in line with what I morally stand for. But let me be real, I want to be known as one of the smartest businessmen as well," Joshua explained
“I used to watch Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, we all know the stories of NFL players, basketball players, they make bad decisions. I wanted to make sure I make the smart moves when it comes to this business. If the money is right, you have to look at it.
"You have to look at it. But respect to me has a lot more value than money. Respect first, what I'm known for when I leave this division, then being the smartest businessman in my career.
"That step aside thing, it may not go with what I stand for in terms of bringing me respect, fighting the best, but it may make sense for business."