Hearn: Joshua-Ruiz winner could face Wilder or Fury
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says he thinks WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will face Andy Ruiz Jr. in early 2020 in a fight for the undisputed championship rather than Tyson Fury in February. Hearn doesn’t see how Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) will be able to face Wilder on their scheduled February 22 date.
Tyson Fury’s cut eye makes it tough for February fight
Fury was cut badly over his right eye in two places in his last fight against Otto Wallin on September 14, and he had to have 47 stitches sewn in to close the gaping wound. If Fury comes back in February to face Wilder, he’ll be in a situation where could be cut to pieces by the KO artist.
Hearn says that if IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) beats former unified champion Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) on December 7th, then Wilder-Ruiz is the fight that could be made in early 2020. If Joshua wins the December 7th fight, then Hearn likes to idea of having him face Fury at Wembley Stadium in London.
“I think if Ruiz were to win on December 7th, skip the Fury fight,” said Hearn to IFL TV about Deontay going straight into the Ruiz unification match instead of a Fury rematch next February. “It’s a lot easier to keep things in house, and it’s not boxing politics,” said Hearn. “And it’s a fact. But it’s bad for boxing most of the time. If Ruiz wins, they’ll [PBC] will try and make that fight [Wilder vs. Ruiz]. When Joshua wins, we’ll be looking at maybe we’ll fight Fury at Wembley,” said Hearn.
Will Fury let Wilder take Ruiz fight in early 2020?
Fury has said recently that Wilder can’t fight anyone but him in early 2020 due to him having signed a contract to face him on February 22. However, if Fury is unable to fight on that date, then it’s unclear whether he can stop Wilder from staying active with his career. Wilder can’t expected to sit on the shelf for months on end while Fury licks his wounds from the Wallin fight, can he? Who knows how long it’ll take before Fury’s right eye is completely healed? If Fury starts sparring a little too early for the February rematch with Wilder, he could have his cut reopened, and that would cause further delay of the fight.
In last weekend’s fight between WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell and David Benavidez, we saw Dirrell suffer a bad cut over his right eye early in the fight. The cut eventually led to Benavidez stopping Dirrell in the 9th round. Seven months earlier, Dirrell was cut badly on the same eye in his fight against Avni Yildirim. Seven months later, Dirrell suffered bad cut on the same eye against Benavidez.
If Dirrell’s eye couldn’t hold together with seven months of down time, then it’s quite likely that Fury’s right eye won’t hold together against Wilder next February. Fury would be coming back after just 5 months to face Wilder. If 7 months wasn’t enough for Dirrell’s cut eye to stay intact for his match against Benavidez, then Fury’s cut is going to be in even worse shape with him coming back in 5 months to face Wilder.
Hearn says Joshua vs. Fury possible for next summer
“If Ruiz beats Joshua, they’ll be looking to make that fight, an undisputed fight, but obviously if Joshua wins, that throws everything out and who can rule out Joshua against Tyson Fury at Wembley next summer,” said Hearn to skysports.com. “Win or lose against Ruiz, that’s a fight we must see, but the focus for AJ is just to beat Andy Ruiz.”