Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Anthony Joshua has now received an offer to allow him to step down and allow Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk to take place next.
However, AJ’s promoter insisted the fighter himself would be the one to decide and said a deal was far from done.
As it stands, Fury has been ordered to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte, while Joshua has triggered his contract clause for a rematch with WBA, IBF and WBO champion Usyk.
However, the Middle East is keen to stage an upcoming undisputed title fight between the two champions.
As a result, negotiations are underway over a potential mega deal, while paying both Joshua and Whyte to step aside and allow it to happen.
A report earlier this week claimed that Joshua was ‘close to accepting’ a £15m ($20.2m) deal when it comes to an end, but he has since hit back and called it a ‘ *** bulls”.
Hearn told the DAZN Boxing Show: “There was an offer, there were several discussions with myself.
“I can’t rule it out, it’s not my job. AJ is the boss – he will either kick her out or not.
“He’s very smart on the plan. He won’t want to.
“A lot of people who know boxing know that if you go to see a new trainer, people will say, ‘That’s a very smart move.
“And then, on the other hand, it’s, ‘Oh, you dodge it. You cannot win.
“Anthony has never ducked anyone, he won’t want anyone to think he’s ducking this challenge.
“Sometimes you have to think with your head. There’s a smart game here somewhere, but Anthony isn’t about the money
“If the plan makes sense from a development standpoint – working with a new trainer, maybe having a fight first, getting into a much bigger fight – yes, I can see the sense.
“But with Anthony, it was never about ‘Here’s the money, do you want to?’
“Because it’s not about that, it’s a returning fighter, it’s about legacy. All he can think about right now is beating Oleksandr Usyk.
Hearn continued: “I think AJ, from his perspective, he’s always been the boss, he’s always been the guy who makes the calls, who makes the decisions.
“There’s been a lot of speculation in the papers that a deal has been done and I think sometimes it just kind of backs away, like, ‘When a deal is done, you’ll hear it from me.’
“There is certainly no agreement reached for him to step down. There are conversations, and I will have those conversations with him.
“In his mind, he wants to face Oleksandr Usyk, and until a detailed contract is presented to us and makes sense – you see, it’s much deeper than a withdrawal fee. Money is something you negotiate, but it’s a plan.
“All he wants is to win back the world heavyweight title. Right now he has an unmissable opportunity to do so in a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
“So any withdrawal, any other plan has to be solid.
“It’s not, ‘Yeah I hope you get the winner’, then Fury fights Usyk, then Fury decides to be inactive for two years.
“He’s not out there looking for another fight, looking for a side step.
“He will, as always, be the one to call the shots. He clearly explained what that shot looked like.
Hearn went on to say the reported £15million fee was incorrect.
He concluded: “I’m not saying there’s no truth in some of the articles in terms of the process, what’s going on with the withdrawal and stuff like that.
“Fees are wrong, a lot of other things are wrong too.
“Some were true, some were not.
“There is no signed contract, there is a long way to go in terms of details.”
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