Plans for the biggest fight in British boxing history are in tatters.
However, confirmation of Fury’s contractual obligation to face Deontay Wilder for a third time has now been provided by a US judge following an arbitration.
The judge ruled that Fury must face Wilder by September 15 at the latest. This date is a hammer blow to plans for Fury vs Joshua, as it falls agonisingly close to the August 14 event date. A four-week window gives far too little time to recover and prepare for another fight.
Speaking of Joshua’s reaction to the fight potentially breaking down, promoter Eddie Hearn revealed, as per the Mirror: “He was OK. I guess he’s been up and down during this process like we all have, and the positivity from Team Fury this week and the acceptance that we have a deal was great for everyone. Everyone had started, pretty much, full training camp.
“AJ has been there, he’s seen it. You look back to the Jarrell Miller fight with that falling through two weeks before, the first Pulev fight falling through 10 days before.
“He just said to me, ‘listen, go, and do your work. You’re the man to take care of it, over to you. I’ll be in the gym, let me know’. That was nice, it’s nice to be given that kind of responsibility. It got to about 11:30 last night and I just thought, ‘you know what, the phone is going off.’
“Had a very nice sleep, I spoke to AJ this morning, and we go to work again. It’s just another day of ups and downs, this is the boxing business.”
With Fury seemingly tied up with Wilder, Joshua has his own obstacles to deal with. The daunting shadow of WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk looms large.
Considering how difficult it is in boxing to get the biggest stars to actually fight each other, could the biggest proposed fight in British boxing history never happen?
After beating Wilder, Fury indicated that he was perhaps two fights away from retirement. He later made a U-turn, stating that he would fight until he’s 40, as he “doesn’t have anything else to do”. Could frustration with the politics of boxing push him into thinking of retirement once again?
Fury has previously shown real frustration with the Joshua fight negotiations. Last year, his influential and outspoken father John said he wanted Tyson to snub Joshua and hang up his gloves. Hopefully for boxing fans everywhere, the sheer weight of the money being quoted for this fight will push it into reality. Both fighters will be set for life whether or not this fight takes place, but they will be significantly richer if it happens.
One way round the situation would be for Wilder to be offered 'step aside money'. This would be a colossal fee, with the power the American now holds. Alternatively, Fury could drop the belt and go ahead with the fight anyway, albeit with the bout not holding quite the same prestige.
If Wilder digs his heels in through pride, we could be disappointed yet again with a superfight in boxing falling by the wayside, leaving us wondering what could have been.
Hearn has previously stated his admiration for UFC in its ability to make the fights people want to see. With one belt for one weight class, and a more singular focus on match making, it is commonplace to see the best fight the best in that organisation.
However, too often in boxing we see politics and the mess of multiple belts from different organisations often leaving us with one-sided, stat padding fights.
If the Joshua vs Fury fight falls through, maybe the boxing world should take a long hard look at the way it is structured.News Now - Sport News