By Scott Gilfoid: Tyson Fury has issued a challenge to IBF, WBA heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua to face him in his comeback fight back after 2 ½ years of inactivity.
This news about Fury volunteering to face Joshua straightaway in 2018 is probably going to put a big smile on Eddie Hearn’s gob. He won’t have to wait for the Fury fight. Hearn can make the Fury-Joshua fight in immediately after the Joshua vs. Joseph Parker fight. Hearn can get Fury while he’s good and rusty, and entirely vulnerable. That’s a positive for Joshua, because it increases his chances of winning the mega-fight. An in shape Fury could deal Joshua a bad defeat and hurt his future earning power.
It’s unclear what has gotten the 29-year-old Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) all worked up, but it could be that he doesn’t like the idea of being beaten to the punch in dealing Joshua his first career defeat. I mean, with the talented WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) likely to face Joshua in the summer, it leaves Fury with the likelihood of having to face AJ after he’s been knocked out already. Yeah, the Fury vs. Joshua fight will still make loads of sweet cash, but not nearly as much money as it’ll make if AJ is still unbeaten. As such, it makes sense for Fury to get to Joshua first before Deontay does in 2018, because waiting until the end of the year would be a big mistake.
The money that Fury can make fighting Joshua at the start of 2018 could wind up being considerably more than the money that can be made at the end of the year. If Deontay knocks Joshua out cold in their fight in the summer, Fury might not even get a chance to fight him in 2018. We’re probably talking at least 1 rematch between Joshua and Deontay under those circumstances. That means Fury could be sitting around for at least a year waiting for the smoke to clear from the Joshua vs. Wilder fights.
Here’s what Fury said in challenging the 28-year-old Joshua on social media:
”As a sporting challenge I Lay Down the challenge for Anthony Joshua to fight me in my first fight back in over 2.5 years! I’m the best heavyweight on the planet come prove I’m not? The ball is in your court don’t let your fans down CHAMP👍🏼👊🏼 #wanttoseehowgoodiam.”
This has money grab written all over it by Fury. He knows what I know about Joshua. His time as a champion and unbeaten fighter is about to expire in 2018. Once Joshua meets up with Deontay Wilder, he’s likely going to be obsolete.
Fury needs to meet with the British Boxing Board of Control this month to get his license to fight. It’s expected to be a slam dunk thing though with the BBBofC granting Fury his license without a hitch. Now that the UKAD has cleared Fury to fight again, the Commission should do the same. If not, then obviously Fury would be looking to go out of the UK to resume his career. All that sweet money would be made overseas for Fury rather than the cash flowing into the UK. You can argue it would be a self-defeating move on the part of the BBBofC to deny Fury his boxing license.
Fury also said this about wanting to fight Joshua:
”I’m good. I don’t need any warm-ups. I can come off the couch and beat up on Anthony Joshua. I don’t run your big arse in the bush. Let’s fight this summer!!!”
Well, there it is. Fury says he’s ready to take on the 6’5”, 254lb Joshua this summer in a big mega-fight. Now we can wait and see if Fury is serious about wanting to take that fight. If Fury is telling the truth about wanting to take the fight with AJ in the summer, it’ll come down to Hearn whether he wants to make that fight. It’ll also come down to whether the match can be properly negotiated. Fury has been working up a lather lately in banging on about how he wants a 60-40 deal for the Joshua fight. That’s not going to happen. Hearn’s blood pressure probably shot through the roof when he heard Fury wanted that purse split for the Joshua fight.
Hearn is obviously hoping to get Fury for the attractive price of 40 percent of the loot for the Joshua match. Hearn will likely pull the same negotiating bit with Fury as he’s doing Joseph Parker. In other words, Hearn may try and get Fury to agree to take the small money for the Joshua fight with the promise of giving him a big 55 percent cut in the rematch if he beats him. It’s one of those old-fashioned negotiating tactics to get someone to come in at a low price. If Fury falls for it, Hearn will get him to sign for next to nothing for the Joshua fight.
Hearn might prove to be difficult though in dragging his feet about the Fury-Joshua mega-fight by insisting that Fury fight 2 or 3 tune-up bouts so that he can let the fight marinate more to bring in the most amount of revenue. It’s a smart tactic, to be sure. There’s no risk at all for Fury in taking on 2 or 3 stiffs from the domestic level to get the British boxing public worked up to a frenzy about the Fury-Joshua fight, and more willing to purchase it in high numbers. If Fury comes back right away and faces Joshua in the summer, there will still be many British boxing fans that will save their money and not order it on Sky Box Office PPV. They’ll see it a fight that might not be worth purchasing due to Fury’s inactivity and his well-documented weight problems. But if Fury can beat some of the domestic level heavyweights first, then it will increase the revenue for the Joshua-Fury fight in late 2018.
On the flip-side, it’s also very risky for Fury to wait until Joshua has fought Deontay Wilder before facing him, because there’s a good chance that he’s going to lose that fight. Joshua has such an ego that he’ll want to fight Wilder a second time. If Wilder knocks Joshua out for a second time, then that’s it. Game over. Fury vs. Joshua will be a joke at that point. It’ll just be an event fight by that point in time with Fury throwing a bone to a faded and badly exposed fighter. Joshua will be lucky if he can get a 30 percent cut of the revenue for a fight with Fury. That’s why it’s smart for Fury to face Joshua BEFORE he fights Deontay, because if he waits until after, AJ’s career could be null and void. Hearn obviously hasn’t thought about that part. Hearn is so drunk on Joshua’s early success against fodder opposition that he hasn’t even taken the time to realize that he could lose to Wilder this summer, and then lose again to him in a rematch in late 2018.
If Fury does agree to take a few tune-up fights to please Hearn, he can face these domestic guys:
• Dillian Whyte
• David Allen
• Sam Sexton
• Gary Cornish
• Dorian Darch
Fury can also fight former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs. That’s a safe fight for Fury, and it’ll get a lot of attention. I don’t think it’s going to get too many British fans excited and thinking Fury is the greatest heavyweight in the world. But it’s a fight that will attract attention from the casual and hardcore boxing fans in the UK and worldwide. Briggs is 46-years-old right now, and he’s been over-the-hill since his early 30s. Briggs can still punch, but he’s lost his reflexes and timing due his advanced age.
WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight champion Manuel Charr would be a great option for Fury as well. If Fury can beat Charr to pick up his WBA strap, then it’ll increase the interest in a Fury vs. Joshua fight down the road.