Fury v Joshua Preview: Heavyweight Clash Could Still Happen This Year, Says Hearn!

Leigh Copson:

Talk of Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua is not going away any time soon, and promoter Eddie Hearn has fanned the flames by claiming the latter is keen for a heavyweight unification clash this year if Deontay Wilder agrees to some ‘step aside’ money.

READ MORE: What is next for Deontay Wilder after first career defeat?

Tyson Fury is once again sitting atop the heavyweight division after finally dethroning Deontay Wilder with a dominant performance in their rematch in February, but will the WBC champion go on to become undisputed champion by beating Anthony Joshua this year?

Fury was denied a second reign as heavyweight champion back in December 2018 when his first outing with Wilder was ruled a draw in controversial fashion, but the British star would not be denied in the rematch in Las Vegas.

He made his intention clear from the start as he immediately went on the attack and overwhelmed Wilder, who looked bereft of ideas after the opening two rounds and was sent crashing to the canvas in the third round by a huge left-right combination.

Wilder would spend more time on the canvas over the next couple of rounds, albeit with the referee ruling them slips, but there was no slip when he hit the floor again in the fifth as a left to the body from Fury knocked even more life out of the soon-to-be former champion.

Tyson Fury knocks down Deontay Wilder in their rematch (Photo by USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images).

Wilder would make it through to the seventh, but one huge trademark bomb was looking increasingly unlikely as the seconds ticked away and his corner eventually decided enough was enough, conceding defeat and throwing in the towel to spark celebrations for Fury and the travelling army of fans who had crossed the Atlantic hoping to see their man right the ‘wrong’ of that controversial draw 14 months ago.

“I want to shout out Deontay Wilder, he showed the heart of a champion,” Fury said afterwards. “He got up and battled onto round seven. He is a warrior, he will be back and be champion again. But the king has returned to the top of the throne.”

What Is Next For Tyson Fury?

It was revealed before Wilder-Fury 2 that there was a ‘trilogy clause’ in the contract that would allow the losing fighter the opportunity to call for another showdown between the pair, but could that be put on the backburner to allow Fury to embark on a quest that could result in him going into that third meeting with every world heavyweight title in his possession?

Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, has claimed it would be very simple to set up a fight with Joshua, if Wilder is willing to wait for the chance to fight for all of the marbles, of course.

“I’ve been saying for years any fight with AJ is an easy fight to make,” Warren wrote in his column for the Metro newspaper. “How many times have I said it? How many more times do I need to say it? If it’s 50/50, we’re on. They don’t even need to make an offer, if they agree to that, it’s on.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn appeared eager too, having been quick to follow up his post-fight praise of Fury with a declaration that a bout between the two heavyweight champions “has” to take place in 2020, and in early April he reiterated his desire to make the fight happen.

“The one positive that could come out of this for boxing is you might find people jumping into bigger fights sooner, rather than later, because of course, their activity has been slowed,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “Their financial gain has been slowed as well, and it probably makes them realise anything can happen – ‘we need to make sure we get this fight in and I need to define my legacy.’ If Joshua is only going to box once this year, he would very much like that to be against Tyson Fury.

“The situation is a little bit out of our hands in that. A lot of it depends on Deontay Wilder. If he’s willing to take that step-aside money. That’s a conversation to be had with Bob Arum and Al Haymon to see if that’s even possible. If it was possible and there was a way to make Kubrat Pulev wait, which I think is probably an easier job, then for sure, I think Anthony Joshua would be extremely interested in moving straight into the Tyson Fury fight. I think in an ideal world, we have that fight next.

“Wouldn’t it be great to bounce back to our sport with a fight like that secured, cemented. I can’t tell you there’s been conversations about it, but it’s definitely something that I’ve thought about and if Mr Arum can come back to us and say, ‘I’ve spoken to Deontay Wilder and yes, there is a deal to be done, or let them work that out, and let’s talk.’ I don’t think it’s a difficult fight to make, I really don’t.”

So could we finally see Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua before the end of the year?

The bookmakers have been offering odds on a potential showdown between the two British fighters for quite some time and they continue to make Fury the odds-on favourite, with bet365 going 1/2 about a victory for the WBC champion at the time of writing. Joshua, meanwhile, is 6/4 to add the WBC belt to the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles to his collection this year.

Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua Odds

When Will Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua Take Place?

No date has been confirmed for Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua and that is no surprise considering several hurdles have to be cleared before the two men can agree to meet, not including the current situation the world finds itself in.

Joshua is scheduled to defend his titles against the IBF’s mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev, next and we are still awaiting confirmation as to whether or not the June 20 fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be postponed or cancelled completely. If the fight is pushed back it would allow more time for promoters to persuade Pulev to step aside and strike up a deal for a fight between Fury and Joshua. Pulev and the IBF are not the only stumbling blocks though.

Dillian Whyte (Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Archive/PA Images).

Dillian Whyte is the mandatory contender for the WBC belt and has been guaranteed a shot in the next 12 months – that is the least he deserves having been the number one contender for almost 1,000 days at the time of writing. Would Whyte willingly step aside to allow Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua to take place? If his recent comments are anything to go by then the answer is ‘no’ because he has publicly told Hearn that he should do “whats’ right” and land him the first crack at new WBC title-holder Fury.

And what about former WBC champion Deontay Wilder – he also has a role to play in whether or not Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua takes place. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ has a 30-day option in the contract he signed for the rematch with Fury that guarantees him the first crack at the man who dethroned him in such emphatic fashion in Las Vegas. Will Wilder want to step back in the ring so quickly with the man who outclassed him and bullied him for several rounds, forcing his corner to throw in the towel, or will he step aside and look to build himself back up before sharing the ring with Fury again?

Where Will Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua Take Place?

Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua will be the hottest ticket in boxing should a fight take place this year, but where would this titanic tussle take place?

A venue in the UK would guaranteed an absolute sell-out no matter where it takes place, with Wembley Stadium the most logical venue given that it can hold the biggest crowd of any venue on these shores. However, there is no roof at the home of English football so for Wembley to play host to Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua the fight would have to take place this summer.

That could prove difficult, so the the only suitable option to host the fight in Autumn or Winter would be the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, given that it has a roof that can close and turn tie stadium into an American style dome.

Las Vegas is another viable option given that every fighter dreams of seeing their name up in lights on the strip. Tyson Fury is now a major draw for fans in the United States, but even if he was not a massive world heavyweight title unification fight in Vegas would certainly draw a huge crowd featuring the usual celebrities and dignitaries. And of course, those British fight fans have proven over the years that they will travel in mass so having to travel to ‘Sin City’ to see Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua is not something that would put them off.

Anthony Joshua is pictured as preparations are made to the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia for his 2019 rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Wire/PA Images).

There is also the elephant in the room – Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have shown that they will happily splash the cash (and lots of it) in order to bring major sporting and entertainment events to the country. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, formerly the WWF) regularly holds massive stadium events on Saudi soil, one of which saw Tyson Fury make an appearance, and just last year Anthony Joshua regained his world heavyweight titles by beating Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh. Saudi officials would probably love nothing more than to lure Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua to the country and they have the money to do just that. The question is, could promoters resist such a massive paycheck? Only time will tell.