Eddie Hearn insists “conversations are ongoing” regarding a fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury for the undisputed world heavyweight championship despite an arbitrator ruling that Fury fight Deontay Wilder for a third time, with the promoter saying he wants an answer one way or another by the end of the week.
WBC champion Fury was due to meet Wilder for a trilogy bout in 2020 but the meeting was delayed due to Covid-19 and then Team Fury set about fixing a unification clash with Joshua for this summer instead. However, American arbitrator Daniel Weinstein ruled on Monday that Fury must meet before 15 September, scuppering plans for the Joshua-Fury fight.
Joshua’s promoter has told Matchroom Boxing that he still hopes that the fight between the British pair, initially pencilled in for 14 August in Saudi Arabia, could go ahead following conversations with Fury’s promoter Bob Arum on Monday evening.
“Negotiations have been going on for three or four months now, and we were always assured that this wouldn’t be a problem. It’s a very strange decision by the arbitrator, to say the least,” Hearn explained. “But that’s their business, that’s their responsibility. Bob Arum was in complete and utter shock, and I’ve never really heard him speechless. He’s been bullish throughout this whole process that this wouldn’t stand in the way of an Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury fight.
“Once he’d calmed down, the move then was to speak to the other side and see if there’s a resolution. Again, we can’t control that, we can’t do anything about that process, but as far as I understand it Tyson Fury wants to fight Anthony Joshua and we have a deal to do so on August 14 in Saudi Arabia, and I think the conversations are ongoing.
“But from our point of view, we have to get our side in order and make sure we have our own plans and hopefully they can resolve the issue and we can move forward with the August 14 fight.”
Asked whether he is hopeful that a resolution can be found which will allow for the Joshua-Fury fight to happen, Hearn remained cautious.
“I hope, but hopeful? I don’t know. Everything that we were told from the get-go is that this arbitration issue wouldn’t be a problem. Obviously, it is a problem now and we have to think on our feet and act accordingly. But we still hope that the fight can go ahead, but really that’s completely out of our hands.
“We have a deal in place with Tyson Fury, we provided an unbelievable opportunity to him, we were told by his team – Bob Arum – that the arbitration wouldn’t be an issue, that we could move forward with this fight. They were wrong, and that’s on them, that’s their responsibility, that’s now their problem.
“We hope they can solve that problem but we have look after ourselves, we have to look after Anthony Joshua, we have to maintain the position of unified world champion and those talks will continue. We want to be in a position by the end of this week to know: are we fighting Tyson Fury or are we moving forward with another option?”