Tyson Fury has thrown a spanner into the works of a plan that would see two of his major rivals, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, fight in Saudi Arabia this December.
Wilder and Joshua had a blueprint to share the ring on the same night as Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk or a standalone Pay Per View.
However, Fury – linked to facing many opponents after consistent social media callouts and reports – has detonated on those intentions.
Despite showing no interest in Joshua for months, “The Gypsy King” formally offered Joshua a battle in August or September. This new curveball has meant Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has to at least address it to appease the British public.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren offered confirmation of the paperwork through his son George.
“Long story short. I spoke with Tyson on Monday. Obviously, on the back of knowing by then, the Usyk bout wouldn’t be happening. And we were preparing a bid,” Warren told BT Sport.
“Questions were put to us. What are the biggest fights possible that we can make? AJ’s name came up in that conversation.
“It’s a huge fight. The instructions were quite clear. So, the following morning put an email over to Eddie and made an offer.”
The Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua plan
Speaking to iFL TV, Hearn has since been forced to take stock of his original two-fight deal with AJ for 2023. Hearn is already deep into talks over Joshua facing Dillian Whyte before Wilder later in the year.
“They’re [Fury’s team] telling us they want to fight you [Joshua], but we’re fighting in August and September. That’s our plan. I’ll go through the process and see how real this is,” Hearn said begrudgingly.
“Right now, our plan remains the same. That plan is August [Whyte] and Wilder in December. So, we’ll see what happens in Saudi Arabia this week.
“That’s our plan. That’s what we’re moving forward with this week. If we can’t make that happen, we’ll one hundred percent look at the Fury fight.”
He continued by stating that discarding those original plans is not ideal.
Tyson Fury doubts
“Will we give up those fights and the massive payday against Wilder in the hope of making the Fury fight? – Probably not, but I will go through the motions and see where we go with it.
“Of course, we’re interested in that fight. But we just don’t know what to think. Our confidence in basing our plans around Tyson Fury is very thin.”
Hearn seems unsure if Fury is crying wolf over the fight, having disagreed on terms with Josuha several times.
However, Joshua facing Fury or Wilder in 2023 remains in the air. The former world champion seriously needs a year without a loss. Fighting either of those would almost certainly make that risk a distinct possibility.
In 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, Joshua only had one full year where he didn’t suffer a loss. He needs another to keep his star shining in the division for big fights in 2024.
Furthermore, a defeat in 2023 could end his career.
Phil Jay is an experienced boxing news writer. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.