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Calling Fury’s Bluff? Joshua Agrees to Terms, Date

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When WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury called Anthony Joshua out a couple weeks back, there were two theories– the big-talking Irishman was just talking smack, sticking it to 3-belt champ Oleksandr Usyk who said he wouldn’t be ready for a unification bout until next year…or…Fury really did want to fight a Joshua he felt was vulnerable after a tough decision loss to Usyk on August 20.

Whether serious or not, Team Anthony Joshua had to come up with some sort of response. And, after some minor public tussling about a fight date, they’ve apparently decided to call Fury’s bluff (or non-bluff).

On Tuesday, Joshua’s management company, 258MGT issued the following statement via social media:

“258 and @MatchroomBoxing can confirm, on behalf of @anthonyjoshua, that we accepted all terms presented to us by Fury’s team for a fight Dec 3rd last Friday.

Due to the Queen’s passing, it was agreed to halt all communication.

We are awaiting a response.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn was quick to get to as many microphones and media sources as possible.

“We received an offer; we tried to negotiate the offer. We weren’t happy with a lot of it, but we were told unequivocally, ‘No movement. Accept it or go away,’ and we went, ‘We accept it,’” Hearn told iFL TV.

“AJ has wanted that fight for so long. He accepted every term that was put to him by Tyson Fury. We accepted that on Friday. We’re still waiting for the contract. I spoke to George Warren this morning, and he said he’ll have that in the next couple of days.

“I hope December 3 becomes a reality. There’s no reason it shouldn’t do. No one from their team is making me feel like it shouldn’t. I don’t want to get too excited yet. Don’t forget; we signed for this fight previously. Hopefully, we can sign for it again, and it’ll happen.

“We still have to work out the broadcast situation, but BT and DAZN are very excited, and the talks will be very proactive and productive for those guys to work for together and move forward. It’s the biggest fight in boxing. Everybody wants to be a part of it.”

While Hearn asserted that there are still talks to be had and some details to be worked out, he insists that Joshua is all in when it comes to what may be the biggest fight in UK history.

There’s been little movement from the Fury side of things since the Team Joshua announcement. The only rumblings have been from Frank Warren, Fury’s co-promoter, who says that a contract is headed Joshua’s way.

In anticipation of this fight, the WBC has given Joshua a ranking in their top ten, making him eligible for a title shot against Fury. Obviously, they see the possibility of this big-money fight happening and are, at the very least, hoping that the stars align to make Fury-Joshua a reality.

Now, the ball truly is in Tyson Fury’s court.

The Gypsy King’s last social media post on the matter was a brief 14-second video on September 8 which was a “tick tock, time’s running out on my offer” message to Joshua.

If Fury doesn’t come through, it’ll make for a huge public relations mess. Fury would look absolutely ridiculous turning down one of the fight dates he proposed, working under the terms he offered, especially after being so vocal about calling Joshua out.

Time will tell where all this goes and whether Fury was serious about all of this or if he was just playing around, engaging in one big wind up, as the Brits say.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com