Eddie Hearn’s vision: Fury-Joshua, Wilder-Usyk – winners battle for undisputed

By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn has the idea of Anthony Joshua fighting WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury & Deontay Wilder, challenging IBF/WBA/WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk, with the winners of these two fights battling for the undisputed championship.

The best chance of this plan happening is if Joshua defeats Fury because, with the Gypsy King out of the equation, it eliminates the huge headaches that would result from him playing  A-side power-play in negotiations with the Usyk-Wilder winner.

You can imagine how Fury would wreck any chances of an undisputed championship by offering the winner of the Usyk vs. Wilder fight a smaller purse split, giving them a deadline, and then walking away if they didn’t agree to his terms. At this point in Fury’s career, he’s filthy rich with a vast fortune estimated at $65 million and arguably highly eccentric.

If Fury were poor, he’d likely go for Hearn’s idea of earning the undisputed championship, but he’s too rich to want to go along with this plan unless he gets the lion’s share in the fights he competes in.

It’s a highly ambitious plan on Hearn’s part, and it’s unclear whether any of it will happen because he doesn’t promote Fury, Usyk, or Wilder.

Eddie Hearn’s plan:

  1. Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury
  2. Deontay Wilder vs. Oleksandr Usyk
  3. Winners vs. Winner for undisputed

Fury would take the Joshua fight if it’s a deal that involves him taking the more significant split of, say, 60-40 or 70-30. But as far as Fury fighting the Usyk vs. Wilder winner, that’s a difficult one because he wouldn’t be motivated, particularly if it’s Wilder holding the three belts.

Fury already beat Wilder twice, and in his mind, he had won all three fights between them.

On the positive side, know that former WBC champion Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) would likely be on board with the idea of challenging Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) for his three world titles, but as far as Fury goes, he’s utterly unpredictable on what he’ll choose to do.

One gets the sense that Fury no longer has his head in the game, has one foot out the door in retirement, and having motivation issues in getting back in the gym. Fury must be excited about a fight to be willing to train.

You could tell that Fury was never amped up by the idea of fighting Usyk, even though it would have meant he would have the chance to become undisputed. That didn’t seem to have much value to Fury because he’s already possessed all the titles in the past, so it’s not a worthy goal for him to capture the belts a second time by fighting a non-popular champion like Usyk.

For Hearn’s undisputed championship plan to work, Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) must win his fight against Jermaine Franklin on April 1st at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Considering how shaky Joshua has looked since 2019, it’s not a certainty that he will beat Franklin, who is a better-conditioned version of Andy Ruiz. If Joshua loses this fight, it’s arguably game over for him, which wrecks Hearn’s path to the undisputed.