Lennox Lewis Said If He Was Anthony Joshua, He Wouldn’t Accept £15M Step-Aside Deal

Step-aside deals are nothing new to boxing, specifically in the heavyweight division.

Back in 1996, Lennox Lewis was on a mission for redemption and reclamation of a heavyweight title. He previously lost his WBC belt to Oliver McCall, who later lost it to Frank Bruno. Bruno then lost it in March of that year to Mike Tyson who knocked him out.

Lewis saw an opportunity to become a world heavyweight champion again, but this time he targeted WBA champion Bruce Seldon. Lewis took legal action and the New Jersey
Supreme Court stopped Tyson from taking on Seldon, insisting Lewis was the rightful next opponent.

The two camps later worked out a deal, which paid Lewis $4 million, or about £2.6million at the time, to step-aside for Tyson vs Seldon.

Tyson scored a first-round technical knockout over Seldon, snatching the WBA belt. He vacated the WBC title, which Lewis later won back in a rematch against McCall.

Now, on Tuesday, Lewis chimed into Anthony Joshua’s step-aside money dilemma after a follower asked for his input. He said if he was Joshua, he wouldn’t take the £15 million for one reason.

“No! And before you bring up the Tyson step-aside money, just remember, I wasn’t coming off of a loss. I would go get my belts back first,” Lewis wrote.

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“This also is not advice or a knock on AJ. It’s just what I would do in that situation.”

Earlier this week, multiple UK newspapers reported that Joshua was close to accepting the step-aside deal and allow Fury to take on Oleksandr Usyk, the unified heavyweight champion, but he told his followers to stop believing the bull*”

Joshua has a contracted rematch with Usyk, who defeated him in September of 2021 and took away all of his belts.

But the heavyweight division has been more tangled than ever since the WBC ordered heavyweight champion Tyson Fury to take on interim titleholder Dillian Whyte. Their purse split was set at 80/20 in favor of Fury, but Whyte didn’t agree with the compensation.

Their purse bid has been postponed four times now and is currently scheduled for Friday if they’re still unable to come to terms.  Also remember both Joshua and Whyte are represented by the same promoter – Eddie Hearn.  Not sure what his ideal situation looks like but it couldn’t be far off from…

  • Joshua getting paid to step-aside, not to fight, paid not to risk losing again (which would crush his earning potential) and a guaranteed a shot at the winner
  • Whyte getting paid almost what he would get to lose to fight Fury
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