Anthony Joshua will be going in another direction for his next fight if Bob Arum doesn’t speedily clear up the mess between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
Fury was ordered by the arbitrator on Monday that he must face Wilder by September 15th.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said Team Fury had assured him that the arbitration case with Wilder wouldn’t be an impediment to the August 14th Joshua-Fury undisputed championship fight.
Arum was clearly wrong, as fans found out on Monday when the arbitrator ruled in Wilder’s favor that Fury will need to fight him next by September 15th.
Although Arum told ESPN yesterday that he has no intentions of paying Wilder a step aside fee, one will likely be offered to him behind the scenes.
Arum said he wants Wilder to agree to step aside so the Joshua vs. Fury fight can go ahead on schedule for August 14th, and then ‘The Bronze Bomber’ can fight the winner in November or December. It sounds good.
However, Wilder already found out the hard way that even if he has a contract with Fury, it doesn’t mean he’ll get the fight.
The obvious question is what happens if Fury beats Joshua on August 14th and chooses not to fight Wilder in November or December? We’ll be right back where we are now. Wilder would need to trust Top Rank and Fury to honor the contract for him to step aside, and it might be risky given what just happened.
“We were told by his [Tyson Fury’s] team, Bob Arum, the arbitration wouldn’t be an issue and we could move forward with this fight,,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing on the Joshua vs. Fury situation.
“They were wrong, and that’s on them. That’s now their problem. We hope they can solve that problem.
“If Team Fury don’t get their act together by the end of this week, we will have no option but to look for an alternative fight,” Hearn continued.
“Anthony Joshua wants to fight this summer; Oleksandr Usyk is mandatory. We have two or three other options.”
If Hearn looks at the big picture, he’ll have Joshua give up his WBO title and focus on fighting a more popular fighter that the UK boxing public wants to see rather than have AJ waste time fighting Usyk.
Hearn and Matchroom must pick a high-caliber opponent for Joshua that the fans want to see, given that they won’t get a chance to watch AJ vs. Fury now. I think I speak for everybody when I say that Usyk is a poor replacement for the Fury fight.
There are arguably six contenders that would bring in more fan interest in a fight with Joshua than Usyk right now.
Replacement options for Joshua’s next fight:
1. Dillian Whyte
2. Andy Ruiz Jr
3. Filip Hrgovic
4. Joe Joyce
5. Daniel Dubois