Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will step in a ring together at some point in 2021 but there is still “a lot to overcome” to get the fight in place, promoter Eddie Hearn has warned. The two have agreed terms for a two-fight unification deal for what Hearn believes will be “biggest fight ever in British boxing”.
The two world heavyweight champions – Fury the unbeaten WBC champion with Joshua the WBO, WBA and IBF title-holder – have long been in talks about putting it all on the line to crown an undisputed king of the division.
Joshua is seeking to reclaim his spot as top dog, despite avenging his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December to regain his belts.
Fury’s destruction of Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in February has seen him commended as the best in the business and the Gypsy King will throw down with the Bronze Bomber again later this year in a trilogy fight.
Meanwhile Joshua must face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, having been scheduled to take on the Bulgarian on June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fellow Brit Dillian Whyte is also due a mandatory shot at Fury’s WBC strap before February 2021, meaning an undisputed clash between Joshua and Fury will have to wait until summer next year at the earliest.
But Hearn is confident the pair will find a date and a venue to do battle at some point in 2021, with boxing fans having become tired of delays in waiting for the biggest and best available fights – Joshua vs Wilder having never come to fruition.
“We’re making great progress,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “There is still a lot to overcome. We are looking at venues and dates. We have the Dillian Whyte mandatory which is due before this fight.
“It’s fair to say [Joshua and Fury] are in agreement regarding the financial terms of the fight. We’re in a good place.
“It’s fair to say that, in principle, both guys have agreed to that fight. Two fights. [There’s] a lot to overcome in the meantime.
“We’re moving in the right direction. I’m confident that both guys have given their blessing for the fight to go ahead.
“The point of Fury, Joshua and the teams agreeing to the structure of the deal? The first fight could happen next summer. It will be 2021.
“There is a big period of time where Whyte should get his shot at the title. That’s important to us.
“The main positive news is that Joshua and Fury have agreed to a two-fight deal, in essence.
“The most difficult part of any deal is the financial element. I believe we’re in a great place where both guys have agreed to what that should be.
“We have not signed contracts because there are still things to be worked out. We’re pushing towards a place where they can be drafted, for 2021.
“Both guys are in agreement. The structure of the deal has been put forward, and agreed to by both parties. There is a model in place that both parties are happy with.
“It’s the biggest fight ever in British boxing. It doesn’t get bigger, and there will never be a bigger fight in our generation.
“Two guys, very different, who fight differently, have experienced different things and have come back from adversity.”
In a social media message, Fury confirmed yesterday that “the biggest fight in British boxing history has just been agreed”.
He added: “One problem, I’ve just got to smash Deontay Wilder’s face right in in the next fight, and then we go into the Joshua fight next year.
“So there we are, the Gypsy King versus AJ is on for next year but there’s a hurdle in the road called the Bronze Bomber, AKA the Knockout King, and I will get right onto him and knock him spark out and then get onto the next fight.”
Watford slugger Joshua has long spoken of his ambitions to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 2000.
But in the Manchester-born Fury, who is 30-0, he could face the toughest test of his career yet, despite the challenges he has conquered until now.
Joshua told Sky Sports: “Logically to prove yourself as No 1, I have to fight Tyson Fury. He has to fight Anthony Joshua.
“What it will prove, me and him fighting? There will be one dominant figure in the heavyweight division that will have all of the belts and become undisputed.”
While Fury added: “In heavyweight boxing, you can never count your chickens before they hatch, so one fight at a time. One victory at a time.
“All going well, god willing, we get on the big fight with me and Joshua, the all-British showdown and I can give the fans what they want to see, especially the British fans.”