Fury vs Joshua maybe twice in 2021 – Hearn

Promoter Eddie Hearn says Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua could face each other not once but twice in 2021.

The clamour for an all-British world heavyweight title unification fight is growing by the day, and Hearn – whose Matchroom Boxing promotes Joshua – says AJ would sign up now to face his bitter rival next year.

Hearn on Fury vs Joshua deal

Hearn, speaking to Sky Sports, said of the fight everybody wants to see: “It would probably be a two-fight deal. Any deal between Fury and AJ, you run it twice. It is not a condition of the deal but it was in their deal with Deontay Wilder, and it is the biggest fight in boxing, so it is likely you will see that twice.”

Despite speculation to the contrary, Hearn also added that Deontay Wilder will not be stepping aside from his third fight with Fury later this year, which means a unification showdown between the Brits must wait until 2021. And Joshua will instead go ahead with his mandatory title defence against 39-year-old Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev.

“Wilder is not going to be stepping aside so (Pulev) is the fight for us,” Hearn confirmed.

“I had a conversation (on Thursday) saying: ‘Wilder is not stepping aside, we will take care of that fight, you take care of the Pulev fight, but let’s get a deal done for 2021’. We have no problem signing now to fight Fury in 2021.

“It will work out better for both of them to box off those fights then have a clear route, subject to Dillian Whyte being mandatory to Fury, to get [an undisputed title fight] done.”

Fury vs Joshua fight poster

Hearn has repeatedly said that Joshua fighting Pulev behind closed doors would be a last resort land the respective camps are now looking for a venue.

Hearn said: “The focus remains the same – do the fight in the UK. We have also now conceded that AJ will only fight once this year. Before it was all about getting that fight in early-August to make sure we could fight in December. Because of the preparation needed and the magnitude of his shows, AJ will only box once in 2020.

“We hope between September and December live gates will return to the UK. There is also a chance they won’t – if that’s the case, we will take the fight elsewhere.

“We have had a number of approaches from the Middle East, China, and Croatia to stage the fight. We want to give ourselves every opportunity to stage it in the UK but we know it may not be possible.

“We want the mandatory defence boxed off, out of the way, before he moves into the undisputed fight next year.”