Hearn not ruling out Joshua vs. Fury fight happening next
By Tim Royner: Eddie Hearn believes there’s still a small chance that Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury could move straight into a unification fight if Deontay Wilder and Kubrat Pulev are both willing to step aside.
It would be in Pulev and Wilder’s best interest to step aside so that Joshua and Fury could battle it out. Wilder and Pulev would get step aside money, and they would still fight for a world title after the smoke clears from the Joshua-Fury fight. It would be an ideal situation for the two challengers. However, it doesn’t look like Wilder and Pulev will agree to step aside.
Huge demand by fans for Joshua vs. Fury
The reason that Hearn believes that Joshua vs. Fury fight could still take place next is the potentially long shut down of boxing. When action does restart, there will be a big demand from fans to see the biggest match-up possible, and that would be a Joshua vs. Fury contest for the undisputed championship.
In the current situation, Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) is expected to fight WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) on October 3, and Joshua and Pulev could be facing each other in July or August. The fight still hasn’t been scheduled, though.
Joshua vs. Fury still possible
“People like AJ, people like Fury and people like Canelo, they’re only going to fight once a year,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing. “They may want that fight to be the biggest fight possible. So we don’t rule out talking about the possibility of moving into a Joshua-Fury fight next. But we also understand that we have a signed contract to fight Kubrat Pulev.
“He wants to honor that, and we should honor that at the moment. But if there’s a deal where all parties can get together to find a solution, we’d definitely be open ears,” said Hearn.
“The fights definitely not up in the air. We’ve got a signed contract with Kubrat Pulev, and Tyson Fury has a signed contract with Deontay Wilder,” said Hearn. “I know there’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of days ‘can a deal be done to where [Wilder would step aside],” said Hearn.
Assuming that there won’t be any more boxing for the remainder of 2020 and half of 2021, fans will demand Joshua to fight Fury next. In that case, it wouldn’t be good for Pulev and Wilder to be blocking the fight from taking place. When the sport starts up again, it’s going to need a jumpstart to get it going.
The best possible of doing that is for the Joshua vs. Fury fight to go ahead. It’ll require that Wilder and Pulev be selfless by moving out of the way. It’s important that Joshua-Fury take place for the good of the sport. They may not like stepping aside temporarily, but they’ll be thankful they did later.
Wilder and Pulev would need to step aside
“Don’t forget; it’s not just Deontay Wilder that would need to step aside,” continued Hearn in talking of the possibility of a Joshua vs. Fury fight. “It’s Kubrat Pulev as well. Bob Arum promotes both Tyson Fury and Kubrat Pulev. So I’m sure there’s a deal to be done there. I think the situation right now is we’re definitely fighting Kubrat Pulev, and Wilder is fighting Tyson Fury.
“But it’s how long this postponement lasts. This is a good bit of news for boxing moving forward. The fighters are going to miss a significant chunk of their career. Five or six months may not sound like the longest time in the world, but a fighter’s career is short.
“Again, a lot depends on the transition back into the sport. Do we start with studio shows, and then go to small hall shows and then to the O2 and then to stadiums, or do we get in the position where there are big crowds and football reconvenes?
“That’s a wait and see scenario with AJ. There are opportunities to also take the fight elsewhere, but AJ’s preference was to make sure this fight takes place in the UK in London,” said Hearn.
If Matchroom Boxing offers Wilder and Pulev a big enough step aside fee, they might choose to let the Joshua vs. Fury fight happen. Just how much they would want to let, those two fight is unknown.
The wildcard in all this is how long the sport will be shut down. One problem with putting Fury and Joshua together in a mega-fight is it’s going to cost boxing fans a lot of money. They may not have the money to spend when things restart.
Will Boxing return in summer?
“The shows in March, April and May were also postponed, and now it’s come with AJ on June 20th, we have to be realistic. That date is very unlikely now,” said Hearn. “It’s not that boxing won’t reconvene by that point, but a show of that magnitude is very unlikely to be put together.
“We are working on dates in July and early August, where we hope we’ll be back in the saddle. The difference for this event is we hadn’t gone on sale. It was very easy for us to put that date back, and hopefully, we see that [fight] at the end of the summer,” said Hearn.
All evidence indicates that boxing WON’T be back by the summer months. It’s fine for Hearn to be optimistic, but he also needs to follow the news, and it’s not looking good now.
That’s why it’s essential that Hearn start putting the wheels in motion to stage fights behind closed doors. However, Hearn has made it clear that he won’t stage Joshua’s fights behind closed doors, and that’s understandable. If the gate money for Joshua vs. Pulev is over $20 million, that’s too much revenue to give away by staging it behind closed doors.
Tottenham still the destination for Joshua-Pulev
“For sure, we made the decision that Spurs was the place where we wanted to go to for that fight,” said Hearn. “It’s an incredible stadium,” said Hearn on the Joshua vs. Pulev fight. “We’re very confident that’s where the event will take place. It’s a perfect place for boxing, and it’s a perfect time to bring him back to the UK for British boxing.
“As we know, there are more important things to deal with at the moment, and hopefully, we’ll all work together as a country to beat that. Then we can get back to the sport we love and bring the big man [Joshua] home,” said Hearn.
Don’t be surprised if Hearn takes the Joshua vs. Pulev fight out of the country. He brought that up in the same interview. If a big offer from a country like Saudi comes in to stage the Joshua-Pulev fight there, we could see it moved out of the UK.
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