Barely a week after their blockbuster bout was confirmed, the heavyweight unification contest between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua has been plunged into doubt.
As we reported a week ago, Fury and Joshua’s representatives had – after much negotiation – agreed a deal for the duo to lock horns in Saudi Arabia on August 14.
However, Fury – the WBC champion – has been forced by a U.S. court to complete his trilogy with Deontay Wilder, or risk being stripped of the title.
They first met way back in December 2018 in an edge-of-the-seat brawl which ended in a split decision draw, with the rematch following in February 2020. Fury prevailed in Las Vegas with a seventh round knockout.
The Gypsy King, anointed as the WBC strap holder, was keen to move on and negotiations over a bout with Joshua began – the Covid pandemic putting paid to those.
His representatives, including Frank Warren and the veteran Bob Arum, and Joshua’s Matchroom Sport eventually came to an agreement over the summer date in the Middle East, and boxing fans the world over began to salivate over the prospect of the heavyweight division being unified.
But as tends to happen in life, the best laid plans often go awry….
Does Tyson Fury Have to Fight Deontay Wilder Next?
That is a complicated question to answer.
Wilder’s legal representatives claimed that Fury ‘owed’ them a rematch as part of a previous contractual agreement, and arbitration judge Daniel Weinstein agreed with the Bronze Bomber.
As part of that legal victory, the appeal court decreed that Fury must face Wilder before September 15 – all but ending hopes of the Gypsy King’s scrap with AJ going ahead as scheduled.
Will Fury vs Joshua Take Place in August?
Even accounting for the court hearing in the United States, that’s not to say that Fury vs Joshua won’t happen on August 14 as planned.
The winner will own all of the marbles, and that might tempt Wilder to accept a fight with the undisputed champion early in 2022 – as a thank you for not disrupting the scheduled timeline.
And, of course, a wheelbarrow load of cold, hard cash can often make things happen too.
It’s not as though those involved will be short of a few quid, of course. The Fury vs Joshua fight could rake in more than £150 million alone, with Saudi chiefs said to have forked out more than £100 million to persuade the two fighters to stage their clash for the ages there.
A cancellation simply does not make financial or sporting sense….