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But last night, a judge in the arbitration hearing between Fury and Wilder ordered Fury to make a WBC title defence against the American.
The camps of both Joshua and Fury are confident that a financial remuneration package will be sufficient to get Wilder to step aside.
Fury’s promoter Bob Arum, who labelled the arbitration ruling “a preposterous decision”, is also ready to offer Wilder a November/December meeting against Fury.
Hopes that Fury might be able to give up the WBC belt have been ruled out by the judge, stating a rematch with Wilder is required immaterial, and Joshua has made it clear he is only interested in the WBC to make him the first unified heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis.
The first of two proposed meetings between Joshua and Fury has reportedly seen Saudi Arabian authorities put forward in excess of £100million to host the fight, with pay-per-view numbers set to make it the richest fight in boxing history.
Fury and Wilder first met in December 2018 with the bout controversially ruled a draw before meeting again in February last year, and Fury winning with a seventh-round knock-out.
A third bout had long been mooted and then delayed by Covid before Fury walked away from talks, necessitating the mediation hearing.