Those desperately seeking a heavyweight unification battle between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua face new frustration today after it was confirmed that the Gypsy King’s trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder has been postponed.
The duo were originally supposed to lock horns in Las Vegas on July 24, however Fury has tested positive for coronavirus and will have to go through the necessary isolation and quarantine periods.
While his period of isolation would end prior to fight night, medical experts have convened and ruled that the bout must be delayed – October has been slated as a possible new date.
It adds further contempt to boxing’s merry-go-round that prevents the two ruling heavyweights from putting all of the marbles on the line. Fury, the WBC champion, and Joshua, who holds the WBO, WBA and IBF gold, both want the fight to happen, but red tape and a breakdown in negotiations between their promoters have scuppered hopes of a monumental unification clash.
Reports online suggesting fury is extremely frustrated by the episode, while Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel commenting that he is also disappointed.
Will Fury vs Joshua Ever Actually Happen?
Given that most elite-level fighters only climb into the ring twice a year, time really is of the essence in boxing.
In a parallel universe, the scrap between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua – free of contractual obligations and the greed of their promoters – would have already happened, and possibly in front of a packed Wembley Stadium.
But boxing is a sport that is no stranger to shooting itself in the foot, and there is now a very real danger that the Gypsy King and AJ will never meet inside the ring – or, at least, not in their prime anyway.
Fury will need to beat Wilder in October to keep the dream alive – defeat would tie their series at one win each and a draw, which would make a fourth contest almost inevitable.
Meanwhile, the WBO have ordered Joshua to take on the dangerous Oleksandr Usyk, despite the fact that the Ukrainian has only had two fights at the heavyweight level. Contract talks are said to be at an advanced stage, with a September 25 contest at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium now very much a possibility.
What happens if one of Fury or AJ loses….or, worst still, they both do? They may still agree to a bout in the future, but without the gold it’s an encounter that loses some of its shine.
Ironically, a date had been agreed for Fury vs Joshua to actually go ahead, with strong rumours that Saudi Arabia would be the host in September.
However, Wilder’s legal team found a term in the contract of their client’s last fight against the Gypsy King, which confirmed he was entitled to a rematch before the Brit could seek new endeavours.
If all of the promoters involved – Eddie Hearn, Bob Arum and Frank Warren – had got their skates on and not quibbled over the minutiae, a scrap between the two could have been agreed months ago.
Instead, there is a very real threat that what could be one of the biggest bouts in British boxing history may now never happen at all.