The 89-year-old Top Rank supremo was left reeling on Monday after arbitration ruled that Fury must meet Deontay Wilder for a third time before September 15.
That bombshell news appears to have scuppered any chance of Fury and Joshua meeting as planned in Saudi Arabia on August 14. Contracts were signed for a two-fight deal and a record $155million (£109million) site fee had been agreed with the Saudis.
There are two likely scenarios now – firstly team Fury could attempt to find a resolution with Wilder to allow Fury vs Joshua to go ahead. That would likely involve significant step-aside money.
Arum on Fury vs Joshua next steps
The Hall of Famer told ESPN: “We’re not paying Wilder to step aside. It’s better to get rid of him and go about our business. We can make the Fury-Joshua fight for November or December.”
The ESPN report also noted that Top Rank has reserved Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas – home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders – for a potential Fury vs Wilder 3 fight on July 24. It had been hoped the bout could take place there last December.
The arbitration ruling had been months in the making, but clearly team Fury was confident enough in the outcome that it pressed ahead with negotiations for a Joshua fight.
Wilder now holds the power
But after all the months of tense negotiations involving some of boxing’s biggest figures to get the fight virtually over the line, it has been scuppered. And all the power and leverage lies in the unlikely hands of Deontay Wilder.
Fury and Wilder of course have met twice before. Their first clash, in Los Angeles in December 2018, ended in a controversial draw with Fury twice getting off the canvas.
The rematch in Las Vegas in February 2020 was not even close. Fury was dominant right from the outset en route to a convincing seventh-round stoppage victory.
A trilogy fight between the pair would see Fury’s WBC, Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles on the line.