Eddie Hearn: Should Joshua and Fury DROP the belts and fight?
By Kenneth Friedman: Eddie Hearn is starting to realize that there’s a high possibility that the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fight next year won’t be for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
With the mandatory situation making it necessary for Joshua and Fury needing to make mandated defenses in early 2021, it’s possible two of the belts may need to be dropped.
WBO promoter Alexander Krassyuk wants his fighter Oleksander Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) to get his title shot in early 2021. Further, the World Boxing Organization also wants Joshua to make that defense against Usyk, and it doesn’t look like there’s any way around it.
If Joshua faces Usyk, he could lose, and that would spoil his plans for a fight with Fury. Hearn and Joshua must ask themselves if it’s worth it to take a risky fight with Usyk, which the fans have no interest in seeing, or is it better to vacate the belt?
Also, Fury needs to face his WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte by February of next year, and Hearn is adamant about that taking place. Hearn says he doesn’t care that Fury will be fighting Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) ahead of the Joshua fight. He still wants that to happen.
Vacating the titles are the best options for Fury and Joshua
It’ll be as easy as pie for the Joshua-Fury winner to swing back and scoop up the WBC and WBO belts later.
Should Fury and Joshua drop the belts and fight?
“So will the [Joshua vs. Fury] fight be for the undisputed?” said Hearn to IFL TV. “I’d love it to be. In an ideal world, no,” said Hearn when asked if some of the four titles will be dropped before Joshua and Fury meet up in 2021.
“I’ll ask you this as a fight fan. If there wasn’t any belt on the line, how bothered are you? There’s nothing more than I would love to see AJ become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
“But if he beats Tyson Fury, you’re going to turn around anyway and say, ‘He’s the undisputed number one.’ So is that enough? Or would you rather see?
“Would you rather not see the fight because all the belts aren’t on the line? Or do you drop all the belts and do it anyway?” said Hearn in talking about the Fury vs. Joshua clash.
It’s better for Joshua and Fury to drop the WBC and WBO titles, as they’re more trouble than they’re worth. If you look at the boxing public that will be paying to see Joshua fight Fury in significant numbers, they WON’T care if all four titles aren’t on the line for that fight.
The only fans that care about all four titles being on the line are the ones the hardcore variety, who follow the sport closely. Those are the guys that keep track of records and know about the history of boxing.
The vast majority of the fans that would be watching Joshua and Fury fight, they wouldn’t know that there are two titles on the line rather than four.
If the WBC and WBO are so insistent that Fury and Joshua make their mandatory defenses before they fight next year, then those belts should be vacated.
Hearn questions whether Wilder will face Fury in 2020
“I’m not liking the silence,” said Hearn when asked if Deontay Wilder will be fit to fight Fury this year. “Where’s the ‘working behind closed doors, and I can’t wait for the rematch with Fury?’
“But maybe he’s just chilling out? I have my doubts [Fury vs. Wilder 3 takes place in 2020],” said Hearn.
Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has kept a low profile since his humiliating loss to Fury last February. Hearn suspects that Wilder’s bicep injury is more severe than initially thought, and he may not be able to return to the ring this year.
A more realistic explanation for Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) being the invisible man since last February is the effects of shame. When a fighter gets beaten badly, you often see them disappear, stop giving interviews, and to hide.
You can argue that Wilder is showing classic signs of feeling shame. Wilder’s ego has taken a big hit by his loss to Fury.
There’s too much money on the line for Wilder not to return to the ring later this year to face Fury, and he’ll give it his best shot. Wilder will be back to face Fury again this year, and he’ll be giving it his all to knock him out with a single headshot.
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