Frank Warren on Joshua vs. Fury: No one is buying a ticket to see a belt

By Charles Brun: Frank Warren doesn’t agree with Eddie Hearn on the idea that the only way Tyson Fury can face Anthony Joshua is if the WBC title is on the line for that clash.

Fury might vacate his WBC title so that he can skip past a time-wasting title defense against Dillian Whyte, who is an unknown fighter as far as U.S boxing fans go. Fans want to see Joshua and Fury fight it out in early 2021, not Fury and Whyte.

Hearn insists that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) defend his WBC title against mandatory Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) in early 2021, and then the winner of that contest face IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua.

Hearn promotes both Joshua and Whyte, so it’s all good for him and his promotional company Matchroom Boxing if Fury faces AJ and Dillian. That’s two chances of big money matches rather than just one of Fury were to face Joshua only instead of bothering with the Whyte contest first in 2021.

Promoter Warren also suspects that Hearn might not want to let Joshua face Fury, which is something that a lot of fans believe also.

By presenting Whyte as an impediment in making the Joshua-Fury fight, Hearn is potentially saving his golden goose AJ from getting beaten by Fury. As long as Joshua keeps winning, the money will continue to pour into Matchroom for years to come before the revenue runs dry once AJ starts losing.

Fans want to see Fury vs. Joshua

“I’ve seen some of the comments from the other side about all that AJ is interested in doing is fighting for the WBC belt,” said Warren to BT Sport Boxing. “If that’s the case, then let’s get it done.

“But they’re talking about if Tyson were to vacate the title, they’re saying they’ll fight [Dillian] Whyte instead. That’s all you need to know. You know my theory on this, and I’ve said it all along.

Image: Frank Warren on Joshua vs. Fury: No one is buying a ticket to see a belt

“They do not want that fight [Fury vs. Joshua] under any circumstances. I did one of these things the other day with Adam Smith and Sky, and he was banging on about poor old Dillian.

‘Let’s just stop for a second. Let’s talk about your subscribers. What fight do they want to see? Which match does the general public want to see? Why do you put it up, and we can do the same thing with BT. Put it up.

‘Who do you want to see Tyson Fury fight? Dillian Whyte or AJ. Who do you want to see? Anthony Joshua against Dillian Whyte or Anthony Joshua against Tyson Fury? Who do you want to see?’

“He said to me, ’98 % of the people want to see Fury against Joshua.’ He said it ‘probably makes a couple of Dillian’s mates.’ I said, ‘Then, under those circumstances, listen to your subscribers. Let’s park all this up because it’s not even about belts now; It would be great to have all four belts on the line. I

‘t would be great for two belts to have all four belts on the lines, but there are all these complications. Let’s just let them have the fight because no one is buying a ticket to watch a belt [WBC].

“They’re buying a ticket to see two Brits fight each other. They’re buying a ticket because they want to see Tyson Fury against Anthony Joshua. That’s what they want to see, and that’s what they’re buying a ticket for. That’s the fight they want to see, and that’s the fight that I want to see,” said Warren.

It seems pretty obvious that Hearn is putting Whyte in front of Fury as a kind of a protector for Joshua, which is sad because this isn’t a sustainable situation.

Whyte has already been exposed by Joshua in the past, and he’s looked terrible recently against journeyman Mariusz Wach.

Boxing fans don’t want to see Fury fight Whyte in 2021, as that’s a lower level match-up, and step backward for ‘The Gypsy King’ from his match against Deontay Wilder.

Joshua wants Fury

“I’m told that’s the fight that AJ wants, and that’s the fight that Tyson Fury wants,” Warren continued on the Fury-Joshua clash. “Let’s just get the thing on. We have no problems with money.

Image: Frank Warren on Joshua vs. Fury: No one is buying a ticket to see a belt

“We already know what it’s going to be. Cut it down the middle, so there are no problems with that. So let’s just focus on putting these obstacles out of the way and delivering the fight that the whole of Britain wants to see if not the whole of the world wants to see.

“The best fighting the best. The two best heavyweights. If Dillian comes through on Saturday and does well, and I hope he does come through, and he’s lost his weight, he could be a massive big favorite with all the experience he’s got in fighting Daniel Dubois.

“Let’s get that one on, and then the winner can fight the winner of the other two guys [Joshua vs. Fury]. And while we’re waiting for that to go on, Dereck Chisora can get in and fight our man.

“So we got a nice mix of proper fights, and the great ingredients are Queensbury against Matchroom as well. We got a little bit of ego between Eddie Hearn and myself, so we can have a little bit of fun with it ourselves.

“But we will be delivering boxing a service, not a disservice. That is what we should be focusing on, delivering for the fans. They are what matters. They are the people that pay for these events, and they are the people that put their hands in their pockets.

What Joshua wants and what his promoter Hearn wants are entirely different things. Hearn is boiling over with enthusiasm about Fury fighting Whyte, and he’s missing the boat entirely about what the fans want.

But it does make sense if you look at it from the angle of Hearn getting two fights instead of one. Like I said, if Fury faces Whyte and AJ, then that’s two bites off the apple instead of just one.

That’s more revenue pouring into Matchroom. Moreover, if Hearn is hoping to use Whyte as Joshua’s protector, then it makes sense for him to want Fury-Whyte rather than letting Fury to straight into a match against AJ.

The belts don’t matter

“So let’s give them what they want and not let anything get in the way,” Frank said about the fans in wanting to give them the Fury vs. Joshua fight instead of Fury-Whyte. “And if anything gets in the way, let’s just park up the belts and fight each other and get it done.

Image: Frank Warren on Joshua vs. Fury: No one is buying a ticket to see a belt

“We did it with Naseem Hamed. He was going to fight [Wilfredo] Vasquez, Gomez, and all those guys. A couple was vacated, and we just paid them. Vacate the belts and just fight.

“The fans knew what they were. It was the best fighting the best, and it was unfortunate that the organizations got in the way. All the nonsense got in the way.

“So they vacated the belts, and we may it happen, and they were really good fights. That’s when Naseem was at his best when Naseem was really flying, and they were highly anticipated fights. But Nothing in my time in boxing is as much anticipated as Tyson against AJ.

“Nothing in my time in boxing. Nothing is like this. This is another world, and that’s why we got to make this happen. Let’s get all this crap out of the way and make things happen, and not find ways not to make things happen.

“This is a great time for British boxing in the heavyweight division. It’s like busses coming together. It’s just terrible that we’re in this lockdown situation as far as the fans are concerned.

“Great Britain is the business at the moment. We are absolutely running the show in the heavyweight division, and there are more world champions coming through and some youngsters, which I think is some of the best young talents in the world.

At this level, the fans don’t care if the WBC belt will be on the line for a match between Fury and Joshua. There will already be three belts up for grabs for the Joshua-Fury contest with the IBF, WBA, and WBO belt.

Fans won’t get broken up mentally if the WBC title isn’t available for that fight. The only ones that will give a fig about it are the uppermost ultra-hardcore boxing fans, who will see the WBC title as validation that Joshua-Fury fight translates to the best against the best.

The titles, unfortunately. Those are belts put up by businesses, and it’s all political stuff rather than titles that actually have any true meaning.

Image: Frank Warren on Joshua vs. Fury: No one is buying a ticket to see a belt

“This is a moment in time to really do boxing a service to deliver. That’s what it’s really about. To deliver to the fans to give them those fights, and it’s not the end of the world for the losers,” said Warren.