Amir Khan believes Anthony Joshua was two rounds away from beating Oleksandr Usyk in Saturday’s world title rematch, and has backed Tyson Fury to overcome the Ukrainian in an undisputed heavyweight showdown.
Joshua was on the losing side of a split decision after a much-improved performance in Saudi Arabia following a points defeat in their first fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
The two-time world champion’s best spell came in the ninth when he piled on the pressure and threatened to stop Usyk, who produced a remarkable response across the closing three rounds to retain the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
“I had Joshua going into the fight and winning the fight,” said Khan. “He didn’t look the best the first time he fought him so I thought this time with a new trainer, obviously a new trainer brings out the best in you and is going to help him.
“But to be honest with you, after six or seven rounds in the fight, you could see Joshua slowing down and Usyk coming stronger.
“Usyk is a smaller guy but the way he put on that muscle, the way he dominated, especially towards the end of the fight.
“Those last two rounds were what I think lost AJ the fight. Till the 10th round, AJ was doing well and it was those last two rounds that gave it to Usyk.”
Fury has a deadline of Friday to confirm to the WBC whether he intends to fight on after the 34-year-old reaffirmed his retirement following his stoppage win over Dillian Whyte in April.
The British star previously stated he would return to the ring for £500m, while UK promoter Frank Warren told Sky Sports this week that both Fury and Usyk wish to make the fight happen.
“Usyk is one of the best fighters out there. Pound for pound, it is between him and Terrence Crawford,” added Khan. “What Usyk did last week was phenomenal.
“Tyson (Fury) wants to make that big money. Everyone is running to Saudi Arabia because they want that big cheque.
“I spoke to Tyson a few days ago and said: ‘listen, maybe we can help you get that fight’.
“I think a bigger fight would be Wembley Stadium with AJ. Even though AJ lost, I still think it is a big fight and people want to watch that fight.
“But with Usyk becoming a world champion, winning all the world titles, him and Fury, if that fight happens, I give it to Fury.”
Khan said he plans to contact Turki Al-Sheikh, a Saudi Minister in charge of entertainment at the Royal Court, in an effort to help facilitate the fight.
“I think Fury has that long-range, he will box him and keep him long so I favour more Fury in that fight,” Khan continued.
“You know what his answer was: ‘I want £500 million’. I was like OK, I will get back to you.
“I speak to the Saudi Government, I know Turki Al-Sheikh quite well, the guy who makes it happen in Saudi Arabia and I have not sent him that message yet, but I am going to tell him he wants £500 million.
“That is crazy, isn’t it?”