Anthony Joshua taking on Tyson Fury in an all British World Heavyweight championship fight is one that’s has been mentioned since Fury won the title from Deontay Wilder back in February in Las Vegas.
The folks at ESPN in a report by Steve Kim and Mark Kriegel stated Thursday evening that this fight is currently in negotiations to take place somewhere in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere on the Arabian Peninsula.
Now some of you are reading that and saying “that’s cool, but what about Deontay Wilder in his third fight that reported for October?” Well, the rumor and speculation in the ESPN report is the offer to Fury would have to be large enough to pay Deontay Wilder, who is coming off surgery, to wave his contractual right to an immediate rematch.
Sources: Fury-Joshua title unification talks start https://t.co/mkzz0P08Wo
— Mark Kriegel (@MarkKriegel) April 30, 2020
While the report didn’t mention anything from Wilder’s side of this scenario, the idea of this was being kicked back around as Wilder on a recent episode of the PBC Podcast. He spoke about how he underwent surgery on the bicep he injured in the seven round loss to Fury. So is it possible? Sure.
Also, the ESPN story mentioned, when speaking to Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel, he told them,
“As far as we’re concerned, the next fight [for Wilder] is the third fight [with Fury],” Finkel told ESPN.
So, in the end, this sounds like a fantasy booking that will happen after the third fight. Still, it’s interesting to note that the potential negotiations for the match are taking place between Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn and MTK Global on behalf of Fury for Top Rank as a go-between as Hearn and Frank Warren aren’t on the best of terms currently.
MTK Global, which is stationed out of Dubai, is presently awaiting offers from promoters for this possible fight to take place that sources told Kriegel for ESPN’s “State of Boxing,” which will air 8:30 p.m. ET Friday on the streaming service ESPN+. If anything, the report brings to light is the possibility for an all British heavyweight showdown not to take place in its native country but rather the highest bidder.
“Let’s see what type of offers we get from the Middle East,” Arum said to ESPN, “because 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 not to consider those types of offers.”
This all, of course, will ramp up and make more sense after the Wilder-Fury 3 and Joshua’s mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev, which is slated for June but canceled due to the pandemic as well. Hearn mentioned that fight would take place at some point this year as long as they would be fans in the stands.
That is where these conversations of Saudi Arabia come in.
“My preference is AJ in the UK with a crowd. My next preference is AJ in another country with a crowd. Last resort is AJ behind closed doors. I’m not going to hold his career up for a year, so we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” Hearn said to iFL TV about the Joshua-Pulev matchup taking place.
Once those bouts take place, the possibility of Fury-Joshua can happen.