Hearn: Joshua vs. Fury in the works for May

By Michael Collins - 12/14/2020 - Comments

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s spoken to Tyson Fury’s promoter Bob Arum and they’ve had “positive” talks for a unification heavyweight clash for May 2021. According to Hearn, they just have some “small issues” they need to resolve before the contracts are drawn up.

One of the small things is the WBO title potentially not being on the line for the fight. IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) has a mandatory defense due against WBO challenger Oleksandr Usyk that he wants to get around without dealing with.

WBO president giving Joshua bad news

“[Promoter] Eddie Hearn knows the meaning of commitment. The ball is in Hearn’s court,” said WBO president Paco Valcarcel on Twitter in letting Joshua and Hearn know that they need to defend against Usyk next.

Hearn: Joshua vs. Fury in the works for May

Unless Hearn can convince the World Boxing Organization to let Joshua dodge the fight with Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs), he’ll need to vacate the title.

Hearn would rather Joshua have the WBO title st stake, as that would make the Fury fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship, which is something that they’ve dreamed of for many years.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if Hearn, Joshua, and Fury weren’t in such a big rush to make the fight in 2021, but it’s easy to see why they want to make the fight.

There’s so much money at stake, and Joshua had already been beaten once by Andy Ruiz Jr last year. In Joshua’s fight last Saturday against Kubrat Pulev, he looked vulnerable.

“I had a good chat with [Bob Arum] him last night. It’s positive,” Hearn told Sky Sports News.

“I think we’re all in the same position. We want to move forward with the fight quickly as well, which is good news for fans.

Hearn: Joshua vs. Fury in the works for May

If Joshua has to jump through one last hoop before facing Fury, he may fail against the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk.

The fight likely won’t be for the undisputed heavyweight championship because the WBO has put their foot down, with Joshua needing to defend against Usyk.

From Usyk’s standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to be patient any longer since he’s already been sidestepped twice with Joshua facing Andy Ruiz Jr last December and Pulev last Saturday. Hearn is basically asking the WBO to let Joshua duck Usyk for all of 2021, which is crazy.

Fury also has issues that could potentially get in the way of the Joshua goldmine fight, and that’s the meditation process he’s dealing with former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

If the mediator rules that Fury must face Wilder next, Joshua will have to wait. Joshua will likely go ahead and take on Usyk rather than sit idle.

Hearn: Joshua vs. Fury in the works for May

Fury and his management believe the contract has run out for the fight with Deontay, and they’d prefer not to take that risky fight.

It looks weak on Fury’s part that he’s trying to walk away from the trilogy match with Wilder without facing him again. While Fury’s diehard boxing fans are openly celebrating this move, it’s disturbing with the message that it sends fans.

Likewise, Joshua choosing to evade his commitment to defending his WBO title against his mandatory Usyk reeks of someone looking to receive favoritism. What’s the point of having a title if you’re not going to do the things required to keep it? It looks wrong.

Fury was arguably knocked cold by Wilder in their first fight, and he got lucky with the referee giving him a count despite him being asleep.

If Fury gets knocked cold again, there may not be a reference that gives a count. Wilder is too dangerous for Fury, and Usyk is a huge risk for Joshua.

Hearn: Joshua vs. Fury in the works for May

So rather than take the high road and deal with these two risky fights, Joshua and Fury are hoping to sidestep them so they can meet for their money-fight in May 2021.