The fight everyone wants to see is definitely going to happen. Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that the contracts for Anthony Joshua versus Tyson Fury have been signed, although a date and venue are yet to be announced.
Road To Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua
It would be the biggest British heavyweight fight since Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno collided at Cardiff Arms Park in October 1993, and it appears as though 2021 will be the year in which we finally see a huge showdown between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
“All parties have now put pen to paper,” promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports News. “We will be working hard over the next few weeks to confirm the site and date for the biggest fight in boxing.”
He added on ESPN: “We’d like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month. The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line. You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters.
“I actually feel we’ve done the hard part.
“Speaking for myself, Anthony and his team at 258 management, I know how hard we’ve worked hard these last couple of months and I just feel that this fight is so big it’s not a difficult sell.
“We’ve already had approaches from eight or nine sites. The offers have come from multiple countries in the Middle East, from Asia, eastern Europe and America.
“This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself.”
This fight should determine who is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but how did we get to this point?
Tyson Fury’s rise back to the top of the heavyweight division has been one of the biggest British sporting stories in years. ‘The Gypsy King’ was on top of the world when he became the man to end Wladimir Klitschko’s dominance of the heavyweight ranks back in November 2015, but his reign proved to be short-lived as much talked about issues outside of the ring forced him on the sidelines for over two-and-a-half years.
Fury finally made his return to the ring with a farcical four-round win over Sefer Seferi in June 2018 before following it up with an underwhelming decision win over Francesco Pianeta a couple of months later that was designed to get some rounds under his belt. Immediately after the bout it was confirmed that his next outing would see him take on unbeaten WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder later in the year, and it was a decision that sparked much debate with many wondering if the former heavyweight champion had taken on the fight far too early.
Those doubters were silenced by a superb showing from Fury in Los Angeles. He outclassed the unbeaten ‘Bronze Bomber’ from almost start to finish, and despite being knocked down twice in the contest it was widely felt that the challenger had done more than enough to have his hand raised. Two judges controversially disagreed however, resulting in a split decision draw that saw Wilder hold onto his crown. Fury would leave no doubt just over 14 months later though, outclassing the champion from start to finish before stopping him in the seventh round to become a two-time heavyweight champion.
It was quickly confirmed that Wilder would activate a rematch clause in the contract that would force Fury to make his first defence against the former champion, but that did not stop plenty of discussion over whether or not the American could be persuaded to step aside in order to let the two champions in the division – Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua – go head-to-head for all of the marbles.
Joshua, of course, is back atop the heavyweight division and is holding all but one of the titles after he successfully avenged the only defeat of his career to become a two-time champion in 2019. ‘AJ’ was the top dog in the division when he attempted to make splash in America last year, and while his US debut did grab headlines they were for all the wrong reasons.
Joshua had been set to take on Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in New York until a failed drug test took the challenger out of the bout. Promoter Eddie Hearn pressed on with the event though and it was soon confirmed that Andy Ruiz Jr would provide the opposition for Joshua at the world famous Madison Square Garden.
Casual fans wrote off the much small and much chunkier challenger, but those who knew their boxing knew that he was a step up in quality from Miller. Joshua was still expected to win though and he appeared on course for a routine stoppage success when he floored Ruiz Jr in the third round. However, Ruiz Jr had other ideas. He climbed to his feet and dropped the champion moments later, and he then went on to floor Joshua three more times before the referee stepped in and waved it off, signalling the arrival of the first ever Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.
Following the bout there was much discussion about what had gone wrong for Joshua – had he been ill, had been knocked out in sparring, had he taken the challenger lightly? The former champion, to his credit, offered no excuses, instead triggering the rematch clause to ensure that he would get the first crack at Ruiz Jr. Joshua slimmed down, acknowledging that the mass he had gained in recent years was not good form him, and he righted all of the wrongs in Saudi Arabia as he picked apart Ruiz Jr en route to a landslide decision that gave him back the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO titles.
Back on top of the world, Joshua was slated for a first defence against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, but still there was plenty of talk about whether or not he could skip that bout in favour of a huge unification clash with Fury. AJ made light work of Pulev as he knocked the Bulgarian out in the ninth round. He will have to be at his best to beat Fury, but the same has to be said about Fury as well.
As I have already mentioned, no date has been announced yet, but we all cannot wait to see AJ and Fury lock horns. We would watch it in car park if we had to.
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BREAKING: Eddie Hearn confirms a two fight deal is signed for Joshua vs Fury.
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 15, 2021