Hearn says 50-50 chance Joshua vs. Fury happens in 2020
By Charles Brun: Barry Hearn of Matchroom Boxing believes there’s a 50-50 possibility that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua could face WBC champ Tyson Fury in 2020.
While it may seem unthinkable to a lot of fans, given the shutdown of the sport, Hearn sees a scenario in which the currently injured Deontay Wilder is unable to face Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) when fights return this year.
Wilder’s injury increases the chances of Joshua-Fury in 2020
If Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) is unable to face Fury later this year, then the chances of Joshua-Fury taking place will increase.
Hearn believes that it won’t be a problem for Joshua to bypass his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.
Barry doesn’t say how Joshua will move pass Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs). It could involve him vacating the IBF belt if the Bulgarian fighter chooses not to accept a step aside fee to step aside.
If not for the pandemic, Joshua vs. Fury would be happening in 2020 without any need for a step aside. Joshua would have faced Pulev in June. Fury was supposed to defend his WBC title against Wilder in July as part of their rematch clause. However, Wilder’s bicep injury would have been a problem with that, as well.
Hearn optimistic on Joshua vs. Fury taking place
“I think we have an excellent chance of seeing it [Joshua vs. Fury],” said Hearn to Betfair. “I would say it’s probably 50-50 that it’s this year if it’s not then it’s 95-5 early 2021. I’m hearing Wilder has a slight injury and isn’t going to be able to train until May. Does that bring about a delay (to Fury-Wilder 3)?
‘Let’s take a hypothetical – if the world came back say September, and everyone’s ready to go, and Wilder’s not ready or doesn’t want the fight, then I think Joshua would drop Pulev and go for Fury because that’s the fight he wants more than anything else,” said Hearn.
The chances of Joshua vs. Fury fighting this year comes down to these questions:
- Will Deontay’s bicep injury heal by the time the sport restarts in 2020? If not, then Fury may get permission by the World Boxing Council to face Joshua in a unification, provided that he’s ready to take the bout.
- Does the lockdown end in the last quarter of this year?
- Is it possible to get Kubrat Pulev to step aside? He wants his title shot, and it doesn’t benefit him to wait on the winner of the Joshua vs. Fury fight.
“That is like history. We’ve managed to secure the biggest fight in history that the public has been screaming for, but there’s a crisis that we have to watch from our homes,” said Joshua to DAZN USA on a fight between him and Fury. “Even though there’s a huge economic crisis impacting the world, they’re still charging $30 for pay-per-view [in the UK].”
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