Promoter Eddie Hearn has said “we’d be clowns” if he failed to agree a deal for Anthony Joshua to fight the new WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, adding that his camp relish the prospect of their fighter going into the fight as underdog.
Following Fury’s dominant seventh-round stoppage victory over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Sunday, which ended when the beaten champion’s corner threw in the towel, clamour has inevitably grown for an all-British unification fight with Joshua, who holds the WBO, IBO, WBA and IBF belts. Hearn said he has no intention of getting in the way of a showdown between the pair taking place.
He told Sky Sports News: “I said to AJ last night: ‘The great thing about this is, you’re going into the fight as the underdog.’ Very rarely will you see AJ go into any fight as the underdog but this time, you look at the betting markets, AJ is the underdog against Tyson Fury. Perfect – just how we want it. We believe we’ve got the man who can be the undisputed heavyweight world champion. Tyson Fury believes he can beat Anthony Joshua. Only one way to find out – let’s make it happen.”
Joshua regained his belts in December after atoning for last June’s shock defeat to unfancied Andy Ruiz Jr with an emphatic points victory in the rematch, in which he showcased impressive skills and tactics, rather than the all-power approach that had marked the bulk of his 21 knockout victories.
Of Fury, Hearn said he is a “great fighter … a very clever fighter and now he’s shown a little bit of another dimension where he’s gone in and been aggressive in the fight. Will he do that against Anthony Joshua? Different kettle of fish … Joshua is not a 15-stone Deontay Wilder who can punch a bit but looks bad going backwards, can get mauled in clinches and get punched around. Joshua is a big, big heavyweight – as they both are. When they come together it’s going to be something very special.
Fury said following Sunday’s bout that he was “almost sure” he would face Wilder again to complete a trilogy of meetings with the Alabama fighter, having shared a draw at their first outing in December 2018. The deal for the return featured a rematch clause which gives Wilder’s team 30 days to consider the option of a third fight, in which the purse would be divided 60-40 in Fury’s favour. Hearn had earlier said: “I don’t think anyone wants to see a third fight, it was that conclusive, but we will see if he wants to exercise that. I probably expect Wilder [to take the rematch]. I don’t see where else he has to go.”
Joshua, meanwhile, has been lined up to defend his belts in London against the IBF’s mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria, with a June date ready to be announced should his camp fail to secure a Fury fight first.
Heard said of the potential implications should the pair take other bouts first: “Everybody wants this fight. I promise you this fight will happen. If we have to fight Pulev, we’ve got to beat Pulev and if he has to fight Wilder he’s got to beat Wilder again. Both of those things will happen – Fury will beat Wilder again and AJ will knock Pulev clean out. You will get this fight. We will do everything that it takes to make this fight. You have two camps that genuinely want this fight. We’d be clowns if we didn’t make this fight … in Britain we are the kings of the world in boxing right now. Let’s not waste it.”