Fury vs Joshua belts: Angry Hearn fires warning shot

Eddie Hearn has warned boxing’s governing bodies that they could be on the outside looking in when Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua finally takes place.

It has long been hoped that when the two British world champions meet, the winner would become boxing’s first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis back in 1999.

That hope though is now in jeopardy with the World Boxing Organization (WBO) stipulating that Joshua must face its mandatory contender Oleksandr Usyk before he can clash with Fury.

Fury vs Joshua scenarios

That leaves a number of possible outcomes:

  • Joshua meets Usyk and at best delays a Fury clash, at worst gambles on the whole thing being scuppered
  • Joshua vacates the WBO belt and fights Fury. The fight is no longer for the undisputed title
  • Usyk accepts ‘step-aside’ money so Joshua can fight Fury. Then gets his title shot later on.

None of the scenarios are particularly palatable to Hearn right now, as he explained when speaking to Matchroom Boxing on Wednesday. It’s a situation he says that could bring drastic action – even to the extent that Fury vs Joshua could happen with ZERO world titles on the line.

“We have a fight on our hands, and sorry to the governing bodies, that eclipses all belts.

“And we’ve just got to be a little bit careful because you may be on the verge of saying, you know what, let’s get rid of politics right now. Let’s just drop all the belts. Because if you lose one belt, we might as well lose ’em all. No sanctioning fees, and step-aside.

“You’ve got the biggest fight in world boxing. You’re paying each governing body hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now you’ve got another guy who probably wants seven figures to step aside.”

Boxing must win, not politics

Hearn was in forthright mood as he made it crystal clear that he will not let politics rule in these negotiations, or sour a fight that boxing has long desired.

“So we’ve just gotta be careful because ultimately the aim of this fight has always been to be for the undisputed championship of the world. When AJ came into my office years ago, that was always the dream. And we will do whatever we can to make sure that every belt in boxing is on the line in the Tyson Fury fight.

“What we won’t be and what we won’t do. We won’t be held to ransom and we won’t let politics get involved, in a fight that boxing needs.”

Fury and Joshua have agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal. The first bout will be a 50-50 revenue split. The winner will take a 60-40 upside for the rematch. Hearn said earlier this week that May is a likely date for the first fight.