Furyjoshua.com updates us on the much-anticipated superfight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
The collapse of Tyson Fury’s planned trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder cleared the path further to a monumental showdown with Anthony Joshua. As one door closes, another opens....
Fury announced this week that he was “moving on” from Wilder after it was deemed impossible to stage the bout in 2020.
Instead ‘The Gypsy King’ will now look to take in a homecoming bout in the UK, likely on Saturday December 5.
Should he emerge victorious there, and should Anthony Joshua dispose of Kubrat Pulev exactly a week later, all roads should lead to Fury vs Joshua in 2021.
The two men remember have agreed in principle the financial structure for a two-fight deal. The first bout would be a 50-50 revenue split, with the winner taking a 60-40 share for the rematch.
Until contracts are signed nothing is ever certain in boxing. But it does appear that the biggest fight in British boxing history is inching ever closer to reality.
Why didn’t Fury vs Wilder 3 happen?
Quite simply, it appears, the clock ran out.
A bout that had first been supposed to take place in July, and then October, was finally planned for Saturday December 19 at the $2billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
But per Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum in multiple media interviews, while COVID-19 scuppered the first two dates it was American football which put paid to the pre-Christmas showdown. And as a result the fight itself.
Wilder’s US TV network (Fox) and Fury’s (ESPN) both did not want the pay-per-view bout to go up against a packed schedule of college football championship games. As well as a couple of NFL matchups.
With no other dates available in December, Fury stayed true to everything he has said in recent weeks. He announced he was “moving on”, with his desire to fight in 2020 paramount.
Arum said the networks offered two 2021 dates for the Wilder trilogy match, one in late January and one in late February, but Fury’s mind was made up.
He was no longer contractually obliged to face Wilder, and it was time to take another route to that showdown with Joshua.
Clearly the frustration of training hard since February without a clear date in mind for his next fight must have played a part.
And the more a Wilder fight was delayed, the more a Joshua fight was delayed.
Who will Fury face next?
Fury’s promoters have said their man will face an opponent who is ranked in the top 15 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).
A quick scan of the latest list shows that the actual pool the Morecambe man can choose from is pretty light.
Ten of the top 15 are scheduled to fight elsewhere in the final quarter of 2020, leaving just a handful of possibles remaining.
They include a trio of Fury’s Top Rank stablemates - Colombian Oscar Rivas (26-1), German Agit Kabayel (20-0) and Nigerian Efe Ajagba (14-0).
Former world heavyweight champion Charles Martin (28-2-1) is another man who might be available, along with the undersized but very talented Michael Hunter (18-1-1).
We should find out soon enough who gets the nod, along with where the fight will take place. London appears likely at present.
Of course whether a crowd can attend is something we cannot be sure of just yet. The COVID-19 situation is evolving at pace, and what is possible one day may not be the next.
The other semi-final
If Fury vs Joshua is the Cup Final here, then we have the exciting prospect of the semis taking place on consecutive Saturdays in December.
One week after Fury takes on his as yet unnamed opponent, Joshua has that title defence against 39-year-old Bulgarian Pulev (28-1).
AJ will start a hot favourite with the bookmakers to overcome a man who was crushed by Wladimir Klitschko in his previous world title challenge back in 2014.
What about the Usyk factor?
Arum is now talking about Fury vs Joshua in April or May 2021 and positively speculating that the fight should take a mere matter of hours to finalise.
However there is one remaining fly in the undisputed ointment - namely Ukrainian slickster Oleksandr Usyk (17-0).
The brilliant southpaw is the mandatory challenger for AJ’s WBO world title, and believes he is due an immediate title shot should he overcome Dereck Chisora on October 31 (live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN).
Should AJ be forced to fight Usyk after Pulev, then it’s difficult to see the big one happening before late summer.
There is of course the possibility he would vacate the WBO title and move straight on to Fury.
That would mean his dream of being undisputed heavyweight champion dying for now, but such is boxing politics. Keeping multiple sanctioning bodies happy is not an easy task.
Whatever happens, this picture should be a whole lot clearer by Christmas.
By then we’ll know whether Fury and Joshua have negotiated their pre-Yuletide assignments, and whether Usyk has backed up his claims for a title shot.
As ever, the plot promises to be both fascinating and complicated in equal measures.