Eddie Hearn fully expects a world heavyweight title unification fight to happen in 2021 – but is by no means certain it will be Fury vs Joshua.
While the two British world heavyweight champions have agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal, there are plenty of obstacles still in the way.
Fury (30-0-1) has a third fight with Deontay Wilder (42-1-1) later this year while Joshua (23-1) must face his IBF mandatory challenger, the 39-year-old Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev (28-1). Then Fury has WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte (27-1) while Joshua may have to get past his WBO mandatory – the slick former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk (17-0).
Hearn, who promotes both Joshua and Whyte via his Matchroom Boxing empire, fully expects AJ to be in an undisputed heavyweight showdown next year, but he is by no means certain it will be Fury he is facing across the ring.
Speaking to JD Sports on Instagram, he said: “I believe that the undisputed fight will happen next year. But listen, maybe it’s with Dillian Whyte, maybe it’s against Deontay Wilder. You could not rule anything out in this world, especially in heavyweight boxing. But you know we are 100 percent committed to make sure Dillian Whyte gets what he deserves. And he should be commended time and again because he’s the one that’s ready to fight.”
Hearn re-iterated that while he promotes both Whyte and Joshua, the former takes priority right now when it comes to a WBC title shot, having waited for what seems an eternity for his chance.
“It’s very difficult because of course the world wants to see the undisputed fight. But everybody wants to see Dillian Whyte get what he deserves which is a shot at the world heavyweight title, and the run that’s he been on has been unbelievable and he’s so deserving of that title shot,” he explained.
“For me, it’s almost like Whyte should take priority over Anthony Joshua and Fury. He deserves that fight. He’s been told that fight must happen by February 2021 and we’ll be doing everything we can to deliver that. Now in the meantime he has got a helluva fight on his hands against Alexander Povetkin.”
As Hearn stated, Whyte of course has that interim bout before he can challenge for the WBC belt – against the dangerous Russian Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1) at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday August 22. The fight will take place behind closed doors and will be televised live in the UK on Sky Sports Box Office (pricing to be confirmed) and in the United States on DAZN ($19.99 per month or $99 annual subscription).
Fury vs Wilder 3 meanwhile has no confirmed date or venue as yet, though the frontrunner at the moment appears to be Saturday December 19 at Allegiant Stadium – the brand new home of the National Football League (NFL) Las Vegas Raiders.