Fury vs Joshua unlikely to happen in 2020

The eagerly-awaited all-British megafight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua looks unlikely to happen this year after an update from promoter Bob Arum.

WBC and Ring magazine heavyweight king Fury is contractually obliged to face Deontay Wilder in their third fight later this year, while Joshua must take on mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev for his IBF, WBA and WBO title holders.

Despite that, the last 10 days have brought a media frenzy suggesting the possibility of both Wilder and Pulev being persuaded to step aside so a blockbusting unification match could take place sooner rather than later.

Pulev though has already been consistent in his statements that he won’t give up the right to challenge for Joshua’s titles. And an update from Top Rank CEO Bob Arum (who works with both Fury and Pulev) backed that up.

Arum says no Pulev step aside

He told Bad Left Hook: “No step aside for Pulev. I talked to Eddie Hearn (Saturday) morning about Joshua vs Pulev. It looks like it can’t be the UK, because there couldn’t be spectators. There looks like there are a couple other possibilities (for sites). It’s probably not gonna take place until later this year. And definitely not the UK. Also, for Fury versus Wilder, that’s looking like the fourth quarter.”

In terms of those possibilities for the Joshua vs Pulev venue, one could be the Roman amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia. Pulev’s manager Ivaylo Gotzev recently claimed talks were already in progress about the potential of the fight taking place there.

Fury vs Wilder 3 meanwhile had been due to take place in July, but a mixture of the COVID-19 pandemic and a bicep injury for Wilder put paid to that. Early October has been pencilled in for the rescheduled date, but even that must be under threat.

Arum has repeatedly said that major fights are unlikely to happen without crowds in attendance. He cited the example of Fury vs Wilder 2 – which created a new heavyweight record by bringing in a live gate of $16.9m – saying there would be no way to replace that lost revenue with events behind closed doors.