Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury could be set to meet in an undisputed Heavyweight World title showdown this year, after discussions began between both teams, as reported by ESPN’s Mark Kriegel.
Fury’s advisors MTK are understood to be mediating the negotiations between Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter and Fury’s promoters Bob Arum, as well as Frank Warren after a reported ‘rift’ between Hearn and Warren, with Saudi Arabia lining up a substantial offer to stage the fight.
Wilder, who is recovering from bicep surgery following his stunning seventh round stoppage loss to Fury in Las Vegas in February, exercised his right to a third fight with the Brit, which was set to take place in the summer prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Both Wilder and Kubrat Pulev, Joshua’s IBF mandatory challenger would have to be granted step aside money to enable an all-British clash to go ahead.
Wilder’s long-standing advisor Shelly Finkel is reported to be informed of negotiations, however is still holding out for a trilogy bout between Wilder and Fury.
“As far as we’re concerned, the next fight [for Wilder] is the third fight [with Fury],” Finkel told ESPN.
Joshua was set to defend his IBF, WBA ’Super’, WBO & IBO belts against former world title challenger, Pulev on July 25th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, after the original June 20th date was postponed, in the first defence of his second reign as world champion, following his rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December in Saudi Arabia.
A lucrative return to the Middle East seems the most likely option at this stage, despite widespread calls for the fight, which would crown the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis, to take place at Wembley Stadium.
Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn revealed that several “territories” have explored the possibility of holding the event, but admits he is unsure when the bout could happen with the current global COVID-19 pandemic, potentially preventing large crowds from attending any fights for the foreseeable future.
“The conversations between myself and MTK are that we’ve had an approach,” Hearn told ESPN.
“We’ve had a number of approaches from territories to stage that fight.
“So the only discussions at the moment are where this fight takes place — and we don’t even know when this fight could take place. … We’re certainly open to have discussions about the possibility of this happening this year or in the next fight.
“There’s more chance at the moment that the bigger money could come next year because we don’t even know if we can do live crowds in November, December.”
Top Rank President Bob Arum says he will consider offers from Saudi Arabia, as negotiations continue to thrash out terms for a deal.
“Let’s see what type of offers we get from the Middle East,” Arum told ESPN.
“There is a real frenzy with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, with the Emirates, to do events, to open up these countries in the winter and into next year. It would be foolish for us to not consider those types of offers.”
Fury, the WBC world champion is also ordered to face his mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte by February 2021 at the latest.
And when asked where his preferred venue is, the two-time heavyweight champion said: “I’ll fight in Timbuktu if the money’s right. I have a bag, and I will travel.”
The British Boxing Board Of Control announced yesterday they are “hopeful” that boxing would return in July, with all events set to take place behind closed doors.