Barry Hearn: Fury vs Joshua likely for early 2021

Barry Hearn believes it’s a 50-50 shot that Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua happens this year, but says it’s almost a certainty that the big fight takes place early in 2021.

The chairman of Matchroom Sport, whose boxing arm promotes Joshua among others, has promoted some of the biggest fights in British boxing history in the past. And he’s confident that the showdown the whole of Britain is clamouring for will happen soon.

If IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua can come through his mandatory defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev and Fury successfully negotiates his third fight with American Deontay Wilder, then an all-British clash would be for all the marbles – the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.

Barry Hearn on Fury vs Joshua

Hearn told Betfred’s Punters Guide podcast: “I’m always confident because it’s a big fight and the demand for it is huge. There are complications as there always are. Does Wilder fight Fury? At the moment I’m hearing Wilder’s got a slight injury and he’s not going be able to train until May. Does that bring a delay?

“Anthony Joshua is probably the easiest sportsman in boxing I’ve ever worked with. He literally will fight anybody and he’s very keen on unifying the title – and Tyson has the missing belt.

“Tyson (Fury) is not afraid of anyone, at the same time, he knows if he managed to beat Joshua, he would be a massive global figure.

“The good news about this pile-up of sporting events that is out there waiting to be aired, is that the bigger the event the more airtime you will get.

“I think we’ve got an excellent chance of seeing it. I would say 50-50 it is this year, and, if it is not this year, then it’s 95-5 for early 2021. But in the meantime there’s problems to get over – there isn’t anywhere we could stage it at the moment and both fighters are aware of that.”

Hearn says Joshua himself is raring to get back into action but completely understands the situation caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“He’s very good, he’s realistic and a very intelligent, sensible young man. He wants to be boxing and he’s prepared to fight tomorrow, anybody, and that includes Tyson Fury. But, again, we are all governed by situations beyond our control.

“I think that may change, I know Eddie is working on so many creative ideas to bring back boxing to our screens – whether it be behind closed doors to start with. It may be some time before we can do the big arena shows, and obviously that is where the Anthony Joshuas and Tyson Furys feature.”

The focus during the COVID-19 pandemic has been very much on the work done by the National Health Service to care for the victims. And Hearn himself had reason to thank their staff recently when he had a health scare of his own, undergoing surgery after suffering a minor heart attack.

“Let’s hope when this is all over, that debt that we owe them is repaid in a tangible way. And I think it will be and any Government will have to acknowledge that these people have really come up trumps when the cards are down. This is a special group of people and they deserve looking after.

“From my own personal position, I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the service I got, but there is a much bigger picture – these people are going to war for us, and when you come back from war they usually give you a medal. Well I’d rather give them something more tangible, and I’m sure that can be done.”