Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are on course for a huge Heavyweight showdown in 2021.
Joshua and Fury have a two-fight deal in place with a reported 50-50 split in the first bout and 60-40 in favour of the winner in the rematch.
Both teams remain in talks over the fight, although the clash hinges on the situation regarding a trilogy with Fury and Deontay Wilder, whom he claimed the WBC crown from in February, whilst Oleksandr Usyk is awaiting his shot at Joshua, after cementing his position, as WBO mandatory challenger with victory over Derek Chisora in October.
Joshua, who also holds the IBF, WBA ‘Super’ and IBO titles will either have to vacate his WBO belt or reach a deal with Usyk to step aside for the time being.
Wilder is determined to secure a third fight with Fury after activating his rematch clause. However, the fight which was delayed until December, as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic failed to materialise and Fury’s team now insists the timeframe has expired, prompting Wilder’s camp to take their case to mediation.
If these hurdles are overcome the remaining details to finalise will be the venue and broadcast partners, with the pair on separate TV networks.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told the Daily Mail on Wednesday that Singapore had joined a host of countries bidding to stage the fight, whilst Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, China and the USA are all reportedly in the mix.
Three Sky Sports pundits have given their view on the outcome of the fight.
Former unified Super Middleweight world champion, Carl Froch believes Joshua must end the fight inside the distance to come out victorious.
The 31-year-old stopped Kubrat Pulev with a brutal ninth round assault in his first fight since reclaiming his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr and Froch says ‘AJ’ will have to show similar aggression against the ‘Gypsy King’.
“I think the only way that Anthony Joshua can win this fight is by stoppage,” Froch told Sky Sports.
“He can’t outbox Fury, who is too good at range. He throws punches from all angles and he’s so awkward.
“But Joshua is an Olympic gold medallist with strong fundamentals and he’s got combination punches with real aggression. If he produces the same finishing instinct that he’s shown in past fights, then he can beat Fury.
“AJ can get him out of there, I think he can, because you saw bursts of his aggression in the Kubrat Pulev fight.
“If AJ maintains that, there’s a chance he could stop him, but the problem is, if he doesn’t stop Fury then he’s going to lose on points.”
Former Cruiserweight world champion, Johnny Nelson who told Pro Boxing Fans last month that Joshua would be the toughest opponent of Fury’s career, has predicted a knockout victory for the Finchley man.
“AJ wins by late stoppage,” Nelson told Sky Sports.
“AJ has that raw power which will make Tyson Fury think about boxing him more than beating him up.
“But I believe Joshua will box a lot better in this fight than people expect.
“As Joshua get his second wind in the later rounds, that’s when he’ll manage to land a shot on Fury and knock him out. I think AJ’s boxing ability will actually shine, more than people realise. He’ll do better when he boxes him, instead of just having a fight.
Former Middleweight world title challenger, Matthew Macklin disagrees with his colleague, instead believing that unbeaten, two-time world champion, Fury will prevail on the judges scorecards and expects the 32-year-old to implore a different strategy to the aggressive approach he displayed to halt Wilder.
“I think Fury wins on points,” Macklin told Sky Sports.
“I don’t believe he will attempt the same aggressive tactics that he showed against Wilder.
“AJ is a much better fighter than Wilder. He maybe doesn’t hit quite as hard with one punch, but he still hits hard enough.
“He will look to outbox AJ, rather than do what he did against Wilder in the second fight.
“AJ is a good boxer – he showed that in the rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr – but Fury is a top, top boxer.
“He’s got an excellent jab, got better angles, his movement is excellent. I think he’ll outbox him.”