ANTHONY JOSHUA told promoter Eddie Hearn there was 'no way' in hell he'd accept a step-aside deal that would allow Tyson Fury to face Oleksandr Usyk after having a warm-up fight.
AJ was offered a whopping £15million payday to walk away from his rematch with Usyk so Fury could face the southpaw in a multi-million-pound undisputed fight in Saudi Arabia.
A deal was close to being struck until Fury revealed he wanted to get one fight in before facing the undefeated Ukrainian, a change of plan Watford warrior Joshua immediately shut down.
Promoter Eddie Hearn told iFL TV: "All those conversations were instigated by Tyson Fury's team.
"We were prepared to listen and try make it happen.
"If it made AJ get a shot at the winner of that fight and it's financially a good deal, we'll consider it.
"The deal was very simple: Fury vs Usyk. Winner fights Joshua.
"One of the problems was that do we trust him to fight March 26, June and December? Warm-up, Usyk, Joshua? No way.
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"The deal that we discussed, first of all, was no longer the deal, because Tyson Fury wouldn't fight Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua said, 'No way, no way.'"
The collapse of the step-aside deal paved the way for Fury's long-awaited grudge match with fellow Brit Dillian Whyte.
The pair, however, have yet to turn in their signed bout agreements to the WBC ahead of the February 21 deadline.
April 23 is the slated date for the clash of former sparring partners, which could be held in front of a capacity crowd at Wembley Stadium.
Joshua, meanwhile, is currently preparing for a high-stakes rematch with Uysk, who turned him over in their Tottenham tussle last September.
Matchroom Boxing chief Hearn revealed last week the rematch could take in May, although Fury's co-promoter Bob Arum has claimed the bout will be held the following month.
When asked about a potential clash of fight dates, the Top Rank chief said: "They're going to fight in June."
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