Tyson Fury is going to be a very busy man if he follows the grueling schedule that Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has for him in 2021. Hearn says he’s got a deal done for two fights between WBC heavyweight champion Fury and IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua. Sounds good, right?
The problem is, Hearn still expects Fury (30-0-1, 21 K.O.s) to defend against Dillian Whyte, his WBC mandatory challenger by early next year. If Fury does defend against Whyte (27-0, 18 K.O.s) in February of next year, he won’t have much time to recover before needing to return to camp to get ready for his first of two fights with Joshua (23-1, 21 K.O.s) in 2021.
Hearn wants the first Joshua vs. Fury fight to take place in the summer of 2021. Depending on how late in the summer Hearn wants the Joshua-Fury match to take place, it’s not going to give Fury a lot of time to recover from his fight with Whyte in February.
Who does it benefit if Fury is slightly worn down hearing into the first Joshua fight? You guessed it, Joshua and Hearn.
Fury running the gauntlet
“Next summer. I think there will be TWO [Joshua vs. Fury fights] next year,” said Hearn to Sky Sports. “The bulk is done, the financial elements of the deal. There is always stuff that is out of our control, ie the fighters winning their next fights.
“We both want to make the biggest fight of all time,” said Hearn on Fury’s promoter Bob Arum. “We’re all moving forwards. We talked about the site, the other elements of the deal and we agreed to move forwards by papering this. Dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Get this boxed in for 2021,” said Hearn.
The WBC could come to Fury’s rescue by elevating him to Franchise champion so that he won’t need to take the energy-draining title defense against Whyte in February. If Fury’s promoter Bob Arum hasn’t asked the WBC to make this move, then he should.
If the shoe was on the other foot and Joshua was the one that had to face Whyte in February 2021 and then faces Fury in June or July, Hearn might not be so agreeable to that. Joshua was almost knocked out by Whyte in their fight in 2015, and it was far from a natural match for him.
If you’re Fury, you got to be thinking actively about vacating the WBC title if the World Boxing Council forces him to face Whyte in early next year. It’s not that Fury is afraid of Whyte. It’s just the extra grind that he’ll be putting his body through, and I’m not just talking about the fight with Whyte.
It’s the other training camp that 31-year-old Fury will be putting his body through. He’s going to be tired, and knows what kind of injuries Fury will sustain in camp and the fight with Whyte? Fury could carry those physical problems into his first match against Joshua in the summer, and that’s not going to help him. I know who it will help.
It’ll help Hearn and Joshua. It also helps Hearn by Fury facing Whyte because he’s part of his Matchroom stable. Why wouldn’t Hearn want Fury to face Whyte and then Joshua twice? It’s more money in the kitty, and it increases the chances Fury will be worn out when he faces A.J.
Location for Fury vs. Joshua still needs to be determined
“Everybody knows, including AJ and Fury, we would love this to take place in the UK. It’s two Brits fighting for the undisputed championship,” said Hearn.
“But there is so much interest from around the world that I do believe one of these fights will take place outside of the UK. The fighters and their close teams will make a collective decision.”
Fury will likely want to take the Joshua fight to whatever country will pay the most money. It makes sense. Fury has been fighting in the U.S. for the last two years, and he doesn’t mind fighting outside of the U.K. If he can make more money fighting in the Middle East, that’s where the fights need to go.
While it would be excellent for the British boxing fans to be able to see the Joshua-Fury clash in the U.K., it doesn’t make financial sense to stage it there; then, it’s got to go where the money is.
Fury isn’t going to want to give away millions from his paycheck just to please his U.K. fans. Hearn might agree. The fight needs to go to the country where it can make the most money, be it the U.K., the Middle East, or China.