Frank Warren exclusive: The inside track on Usyk vs Fury, Joyce vs Parker preview

Hall of Fame boxing promoter Frank Warren lifts the lid on the latest Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury news and looks ahead to Joyce vs Parker.

By George Mills Published: 24 August 2022 - 1.59pm

Having watched the first fight, I couldn’t see how Anthony Joshua could win the rematch unless he knocked Oleksandr Usyk out.

Joshua did catch him with a good shot, by the way, in the ninth round but Usyk absorbed it and carried doing what he was doing.

AJ has been a very fortunate fighter. He’s done very well for himself but he’s been very fortunate. In my opinion, I don’t think he would ever have beaten Tyson Fury, I don’t think he would have beaten a Deontay Wilder, he certainly couldn’t beat Usyk. But he’s done well for himself.

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I think you could look at it and say maybe they shouldn’t have taken the rematch straight away but I don’t think the outcome would have been any different had they waited. I think that Usyk has got Joshua’s number and he had his number from the first fight.

I’m pleased that he did go in and take the fight, though, because that would have been hovering over us and it would have made it difficult to make the Usyk vs Fury fight. From Joshua’s perspective though, I would have advised him to get another fight in between the first fight and the rematch.

As for Usyk, I suppose he was settling in at the weight but the first two heavyweight fights he had when he came up from cruiserweight, against Chad Wetherspoon and Dereck Chisora, he didn’t impress me much. But to be fair to him, now he’s done what he’s had to do against Joshua and I think him versus Tyson is a really good fight.

They’re similar styles, they’ve got a similar boxing mentality but I just feel Tyson is a league above him and above all the other heavyweights.

Oleksandr Usyk before his fight with Anthony Joshua

The downside of the result at the weekend means that Fury vs Joshua looks a long way off now. It must be a fight that everyone would feel was competitive and I don’t think on the last couple of showings, you could argue anything other than Tyson would do a job on him. Joshua needs to resurrect his career; he needs to come back and get himself a couple of good wins under his belt and look good doing it. He needs to get back into contention.

We spoke to Usyk’s team before the Joshua rematch just to see if they had any commitments and they didn’t, they’re free agents. They have no TV tie-ups. We’re all agreed we want to do the Fury fight. We’re all pretty much agreed how the finances will work. The issues now is finding out where we’re going to get the money from to make it work.

Obviously, we could put the fight on here but we’d have to wait until the spring. The feeling is, because we’re worried about mandatories being put on the fighters, we want to get it away before Christmas. To do that we’ll probably have to go abroad. But out of Tyson’s last six fights, he’s only had one in the UK…

No venues have been decided yet and there’s no date that has been decided yet either. If it’s in December, we’ll have to work around the World Cup otherwise we might have to push it out towards January. But we don’t want to go much past then because there will be mandatories and it will fragment the titles again.

Tyson celebrating after beating Dillian Whyte

In terms of locations, there are a few territories who have reached out and expressed an interest in hosting the fight. It’s now a matter of negotiating where to go with it. Everyone is talking about Saudi Arabia and it would be great to go there if they can come up with the money, that would not be a problem. That’s really the stage we’re at, nothing’s been finalised yet. The most important thing was to get the fighters to agree that they want to fight each other and Usyk confirmed that immediately after the fight, as did Tyson.

Is Saudi Arabia the most likely destination? I’m not sure yet. There have been a few other places that have approached us to ask whether we’d be interested in taking the fight there. We’re interested in anything. Our door is open to any opportunities.

Thankfully I can stop answering questions about whether Tyson has retired or not now! He’s certainly told everyone he wants the Usyk fight. It’s a big fight, it’s history in the making. It’ll be the first time in God knows how long that all four belts have been on the line, two undefeated fighters, a pound-for-pound contender against the best heavyweight of his generation. It’s a massive event. This is boxing’s World Cup final.

I was unsure how serious Tyson was about his retirement recently. I think he gets fed up with the messing around, the things you need to do to make a fight happen. We were quite close to doing something a few weeks ago and then it all fell apart, he just gets fed up with it all and that’s his reaction. But I know he’s in the gym continuously and once he’s there, like all fighters, they need something to aim for. The training deserves something at the end of it and he relishes the challenge of fighting somebody.

Tyson Fury holding the WBC world title

Tyson’s said a lot of things about Usyk, calling him a pumped up middleweight and the like, but he respects everybody who fights there’s no doubt about that. Once he gets into his mode though, his Tyson Fury mode, he starts telling everyone ‘I’m better than all of you and I’m not just saying it, I’ll prove it’ – because he truly believes it and so far, he has done everything he said he would.

I think Tyson is head and shoulders above everyone, I genuinely think he’s the best heavyweight of his generation. I think he’s got the tools and the boxing brain, the speed, the power, the footwork, everything, to deal with Usyk.

Usyk is a warrior, he comes to fight. The only way he can beat Tyson is to get to him because if he starts backing off Tyson then he’s in trouble. With his height and reach, that would be a good night for Tyson. The only way Usyk can win this fight is to take the fight to him.

The big fights keep coming!

Joe Joyce vs Joseph Parker is fast approaching on the horizon which should be another cracking heavyweight contest, I know Joe is really looking forward to it.

The funny thing is, you listen to Joshua at the weekend talking about his lack of experience after the Usyk fight when he’s 32 years of age and had all that amateur experience - Joe Joyce as a professional has had even less experience!

He’s had 14 fights and he’s going in against a former world champion in Parker who has more knockouts than Joe has even fought! It’s a tough fight for Joe, a very, very tough fight. But I think styles make fights and I think it will make it a really exciting fight.

Our Joe does not take a step back, he just walks forward. He is what his nickname suggests, he’s a Juggernaut. Takes shots, gets clipped and lands his own. That fight, if it starts going into the latter rounds, I think he’ll wear Parker down.

Once Usyk and Fury get it on, hopefully later this year, there’s going to have to be some decisions made about what happens with all the belts. The winner will need to decide what they want to do with their mandatories – will they relinquish some of the belts or not? If they do, then the winner of Joyce vs Parker is in a great position. Daniel Dubois is also in a great position, so we’re right in the mix of that conversation for what happens next.

It’s just a really good fight, Joyce vs Parker. Everyone’s got a view on it. A lot of people are saying it’s a 50/50 fight and it probably is.

The fight makes sense because British fans know a lot about Joseph Parker, he’s fought over here a lot and people know he comes to fight. They certainly know Joe comes to fight too and that’s why we were determined to make it happen.