Anthony Joshua may have three of the four recognized world title belts, but it’s WBC champ Tyson Fury who’s the man among the big men at the moment. And, as such, the “Gypsy King” is putting his foot down when it comes to getting the big title unification bout done.
“If I don’t hear anything by Tuesday, I’m just going to move on because it’s been a long time in the making,” Fury told Behind the Gloves.
“It was June last year when I did that video when I said I had agreed terms with Joshua. Like we both agreed to fight each other, but I’ve got to fight Wilder first. That was a year ago.”
Fury has expressed frustration at the slow-moving negotiations several times since it was announced that talks were taking place between his team and Joshua’s team.
“I’m not training anymore,” Fury told ESPN back in mid-March “I’m not training no more. I’ve never stopped training since December 2017, and even after these world title fights, I trained the next day. I go running 10 miles, doing things…I’m in the gym sparring and messing around.
“I’m taking some time away from the game at the moment, because, like I said, I’ve been ready to fight since I beat Deontay Wilder last year. I’ve had no success in getting another fight. At the moment I’m just concentrating on getting me 10 pints of Stella.”
That business-rattling proclamation made headlines and jarred some of the bossmen involved in making the fight. It pushed Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn into jumping the gun a few days later and, to the consternation of Fury co-promoter Frank Warren, announcing that Fury-Joshua was already a done deal and that it was just a matter of finding a site and setting a date.
One full month later, however, that date and site have yet to be set. And with a 30-day grace period to finalize details about to expire, making the fighter agreements null and void, people are wondering whether Fury-Joshua is as much a “done deal” as they were led to believe.
Some damage control from the suits quickly followed Fury’s recent frustration-tinged public demand. Leaked to media was a date of July 24 and a location of Saudi Arabia. Confirmation of this was supposedly to come by the end of this week.
That leak was followed by a social media statement by Joshua, himself:
“Positive news this evening! I’m lacing up my running boots rn (right now)!!!
“@258MGT and @Matchroomboxing have received the first OFFICIAL offer to host the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship Of The WORLD! I will be victorious God willing! No place to hide now! I’M COMING.”
So, what’s what and how will this all come together?
There are always a lot of moving pieces when it comes to big-fight negotiations. Fury could be putting his laments out there, timed exactly to coincide with the end of the 30-day grace period, to either force this bout into being or, maybe, even squeeze out a few extra bucks for himself. Team Joshua could be floating positive news to the media to keep public opinion on their side and, possibly, keep the mercurial Fury from just walking away.
At this point, Fury holds the upper hand in these negotiations. He has a big-fight option to turn to if the Joshua fight falls apart– a possible third Deontay Wilder fight. Joshua, on the other hand, only has Fury if he wants a blockbuster. That’s why Hearn is so eager to counter every Fury lament of frustration with a positive “it’s coming…this fight is happening” response. And, this time, nothing is different.
“…Now is the time to make this fight,” Hearn recently said, after talking about the difficulties in putting together a major fight like this in the Covid era. “Now. The summer. We may not get this opportunity again. Both guys accept that and are ready for the challenge.”
Fight fans will just have to wait and see how all this plays out.