Fury vs Joshua: Marbella meeting just by chance?

When Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua just happened to run into each other in Marbella, Spain over the weekend it was unlikely it was by chance.

In reality this probably was the first promotional step on the long road to an all-British superfight, a juicy titbit to create a new media frenzy and keep interest alive for a boxing public desperate to see these two behemoths finally meet for real inside a ring.

There may be no date, venue or even contracts yet for Fury vs Joshua – but that doesn’t mean to say the promotion can’t begin. It’s been happening for decades now. Building a fight can take years, and this one has already been a long time in the making.

On June 10 it was announced that Fury and Joshua had agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal to meet each other – likely starting in 2021.

Saturday’s ‘chance’ encounter in southern Spain was the perfect way to rekindle the slightly waning publicity more than a month on from the media frenzy which followed that ‘announcement’.

In the aftermath of June 10 the smart money appeared to be on the first Fury vs Joshua megafight taking place next summer, with the rematch potentially close to the end of 2021.

But boxing’s politics seldom allow for smooth sailing and now it appears both men may have to take on not one but two interim bouts each before they can finally get around to meeting each other.

We know Fury (30-0-1) is contracted for a trilogy fight against Deontay Wilder (42-1-1) – likely at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday December 19. Joshua (23-1) meanwhile must deal with IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev (28-1) – likely at London’s O2 Arena in November or early December.

To muddy the waters further though, the winner of Fury vs Wilder 3 is supposed to face WBC mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte (27-1) before the end of 2021, while the WBO says Joshua must meet its mandatory Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) next  should AJ overcome Pulev.

So any Fury vs Joshua meeting could it appears be pushed later into 2021 – and in heavyweight boxing those interim bouts bring the ultimate danger that someone else could yet scupper the big showdown.

A defeat for Fury or Joshua in the meantime would surely take some lustre off their planned meeting/s and could scupper it for a while or even for ever.

A bout between the two you would think has to happen at some stage – there is too much money on the table for it not to. But the road to that night remains as long and complicated as ever.

Saturday in Marbella was just the start of that long promotional road. Expect more ‘chance’ meetings along the way…