Dillian Whyte’s shocking stoppage defeat at the hands of Alexander Povetkin at Matchroom Fight Camp on Saturday night appears to remove the biggest obstacle in the way of the two British world champions finally meeting inside the ring.
Assuming Fury overcomes Deontay Wilder in their trilogy fight later this year, and Joshua defeats IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev, a blockbusting showdown next summer should be possible.
But Fury and his co-promoter Frank Warren have consistently said they believe Joshua and his promoter – Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing – do not want the fight.
Since Whyte’s defeat, Fury has ramped up the pressure on Joshua, and on Wednesday he did it again with a brutal Tweet featuring a crudely-Photoshopped image depicting AJ as a little boy alongside an adult Fury.
Happy Wednesday 😏 pic.twitter.com/yghaJTe3zP
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) August 26, 2020
Joshua asks “Where are you taking me”, to which Fury’s response is “to school, you bum”.
Fury and Joshua of course announced on June 10 that they had agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal. The first fight would see the fighters share revenues 50-50, with the winner taking a 60-40 cut for the rematch.
The only potential barriers now to the pair meeting in the near future appear to be the COVID-19 pandemic and the WBO.
The pandemic has so far delayed Fury vs Wilder 3 and Joshua vs Pulev, though Hearn says the latter will definitely happen in 2020 even it is behind closed doors. Fury’s other co-promoter Bob Arum meanwhile has mooted the possibility that the Wilder trilogy match could be push back to February 2021.
The WBO meanwhile is now the only potential mandatory hurdle after that defeat for WBC mandatory Whyte. It has former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) in line for a title shot, and it remains to be seen whether his title challenge must happen before any Fury vs Joshua fight.
Usyk meanwhile is expected to have his second bout at heavyweight against Dereck Chisora (32-9), potentially in late October.