Everything that needs to happen for AJ and Fury to fight THIS YEAR
Settle a 30-year family feud, agree to a 50-50 split and come out unscathed against two dangerous fighters… here is everything that needs to happen for Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury’s super-fight to go ahead THIS YEAR
- Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua could face off in a fight for all the belts this year
- There are, however, several major stumbling blocks for this all-British showdown
- It would require Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn ending their long-standing feud
- Negotiations over money, venue, and who broadcasts the fight will also be tough
It’s the fight everyone wants to see and so inevitably at some point this year Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will have to face-off in the most colossal of heavyweight battles perhaps of all-time.
That has been the overarching message from the men themselves and the subordinates from each camp.
It has to happen. It simply must happen we’ve been reassured. There will never be more thirst for this fight than right now; there is probably no fight in the world capable of generating as much revenue either. But don’t hold your breath just yet.
Tyson Fury is the world’s No 1 heavyweight after dismantling Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas
A super fight between Fury and unified champion Anthony Joshua in on the cards
That algorithm has not always worked well for boxing before.
Over the years, fans of the hardest game have become conditioned not to expect to see the best against the best.
So this would hardly be a first for a super-fight to slip through the net.
If we were denied a fight between Fury and Joshua, would it be on par with travesties like the rematch that never was between Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe and the slugfest that could have been between Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez? Yes. Would it be surprising though? No.
Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe’s rematch is one of many fights boxing fans never got to see
Like with all things that requires negotiation, politics has always had a role to play in boxing.
And the bigger the fight the messier and more complicated it usually becomes.
There are the normal things to consider: The money split, who will be broadcasting it, the date and venue.
Then there are the minute details like who will walk to the ring last and whose name will appear first on promotions.
With high-stakes fights typically comes more fuss. Floyd Mayweather was notorious for making unreasonably high-demands and even got Manny Pacquiao to agree to Olympic-style drug testing right up until the night of their blockbuster clash back in May 2015.
Joshua will have to deal with world-level operator Kubrat Pulev in his first title defence
Mayweather recognised he was the money-fight and exploited it. You want to fight me and make a fortune, you agree to my rules first.
Fortunately, Joshua and Fury don’t seem the difficult type. But if you think it will be straight forward to make this fight, leave your better judgement at the door.
First and foremost, for there to be any possibility of this fight happening, Joshua will have to avoid a potential banana skin in the form of Kubrat Pulev – a seasoned heavyweight who is perhaps already being overlooked – while Fury must deal with Wilder again.
Fury may have schooled Wilder the first time and bullied him in the rematch, but that does not guarantee he would win the third fight.
Fury may have beaten Wilder but the American will always be dangerous with his right-hand
This is heavyweight boxing and Wilder’s right-hand is called ‘The Eraser’ for good reason.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says ‘there is no reason’ why contracts can’t be signed now subject to both of them of winning their next fights.
That could not only serve as a distraction for Joshua and Fury, but imagine the comedown if the fight was to fall through because one of them lost.
How can you promise to offer the fight everyone is desperate to see conditionally?
Hearn has also confirmed that he has already held conversations with Bob Arum at Top Rank over making the fight.
Eddie Hearn has never spoken to Warren and described him as the ‘Thomas Cook of boxing’
No mention of Fury’s other promoter though, Frank Warren, who Hearn has never spoken to and describes as the ‘Thomas Cook of boxing’.
Of course, it just so happens that the biggest fight in a generation entails two men so inherently different they redefine the meaning of chalk and cheese, reaching a mutual agreement. Anybody know a good mediator?
In one corner you have Mr Warren, an old-school Londoner with a rich history in promoting big fights on these shores. In the other Mr Hearn, the slick Matchroom boss who’s always whirring on a salesman-like autocue and is arguably the best in the business right now.
Warren and Hearn’s disdain for each other extends back 30 years when Eddie’s father Barry pinched Nigel Benn and several other clients after branching out into boxing.
The pair did however set aside their differences in 1993 to sign a deal with Don King to broadcast Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn in the US, as well as the UK.
Hearn would have to work with Fury’s co-promoter Warren to make the fight against Joshua
Warren and Eddie had the same issue when in 2011 he began to take control of Matchroom’s hand in the sport and convinced the likes of Tony Bellew, George Groves and Ricky Burns to jump ship.
Hearn, who has since established a world-best stable, and gone Stateside with his DAZN platform, also recently took world champions Billy Joe Saunders and Josh Warrington off of Warren.
The promoters have a long history of trading insults and the prospect of them coming together to make this fight seems fanciful at best and impossible at worst.
Possibly the biggest stumbling block of all though, will be the broadcasters as the two heavyweights are aligned with different TV networks (Joshua with DAZN and Sky Sports, Fury with BT Sport and ESPN).
BT Sport and Sky Sports have never worked together to broadcast a fight before but they would potentially have to take such unprecedented measures if Joshua and Fury were to ever agree to an all-British showdown.
Eddie’s dad Barry pictured lifting up Nigel Benn ahead of fight with Kid Milo back in 1991
With that could come a number of issues including the pay-per-view pricing and whose commentators and presenters are used just to name a few.
Mayweather’s ‘Fight of the Century’ with Pacquiao five years ago however proved that it these problems can be overcome.
Mayweather had an exclusive relationship with Showtime while Pacquiao had the same with rival network HBO.
The telecast of the fight was a joint production and marked the broadcasters’ first collaboration since Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson in 2002.
Another anticipated problem is the venue. Fury has fought across the pond every time since his first encounter with Wilder back in December 2018 and is expected to return to Las Vegas for his trilogy bout with the American.
Fury has built up a huge reputation Stateside and would likely want the fight to happen in the US.
Floyd Mayweather’s super-fight with Manny Pacquiao proved that hurdles can be jumped
Joshua, meanwhile, is returning to London to take on Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and may be more inclined for the fight to take place closer to home.
Inevitably, money talks and Saudi Arabia are poised to make a lucrative £400million offer to host what would be a showpiece event. Whether or not Fury would be keen on such an Arabian venture remains to be seen.
This is unlikely to be a deal-breaker factor but still an obstacle nonetheless. A much more pressing subject will be the money.
Who is the A-side and who is the B-side between two genuine giants of the sport? You’d think that this would be a painless chore. Just split it right down the middle, 50-50. What’s fairer than that?
But no, you can safely expect this to be a real sticking point. Hearn feels that 50-50 is reasonable following Fury’s rise to prominence worldwide, having only ever previously offered him 40 per cent of the split to fight Joshua.
AJ is the unified champion after beating Andy Ruiz Jr but money split with Fury will be an issue
But Fury’s team believe he is the A-side now. Fury is the WBC champion and the world’s No 1 after also picking up the Ring Magazine belt by dismantling Wilder in seven rounds.
Fury and Hearn are both stubborn creatures who will take a mile if given an inch. The likelihood of either of them backing down is slim.
Joshua could also have an issue with the WBO if he emerges victorious against Pulev. The Brit was ordered to fight their No 1 ranked fighter Oleksandr Usyk earlier this year and may be forced to make a mandatory defence before taking on Fury or face being stripped.
He could, of course, forgo this and vacate, but if we are going to see the two best heavyweights in Joshua and Fury go at it, it’s got to be for all the marbles.
So, there are plenty of fences still to jump before we can even think about seeing Joshua and Fury fight. That’s not to say it won’t happen but there’s a long, long way to go.
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