It was the fight the UK dreamed of – a Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua world heavyweight title unification showdown – two superstar Brits fighting for boxing’s biggest prize.
Now though all bets are once again off after Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk by unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium nine days ago.
Just four short months ago Fury was announcing to the world that he would meet Joshua in Saudi Arabia on August 14, with a $155million (£109million) site fee already agreed. That of course never happened, step forward Deontay Wilder to win an arbitration ruling which forced a third fight with Fury.
Fury vs Joshua, what needs to happen
For now at least Fury vs Joshua will not happen, cannot happen. This fight will likely never again be as marketable as it was this summer just gone. They held all the titles, and had just one career loss between them.
Now, as Fury vs Wilder 3 fight week gets under way, we look at what needs to happen to get Fury vs Joshua back on the agenda:
- Fury needs to dispose of Deontay Wider (again) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night (ESPN and FOX PPV, $79.99). If he doesn’t then we have no idea when a showdown with Joshua happens.
- Joshua must defeat Usyk in their expected rematch. AJ has already activated the clause in their contract and the second bout between the pair is likely to take place in February 2022, in London or Kiev.
- If both Fury and Joshua win the above bouts, they will once again hold all of the belts, and we are again game on for that potential unification showdown.
- Given the timescales, it would not be surprising for Fury to have another interim fight early next year – he is just coming off 20 months of inactivity due to the pandemic and various delays to the Wilder trilogy.
So when might Fury vs Joshua finally go down?
Ok so right now the earliest landing spot looks like the summer of 2022. Fury must successfully retain his belts, and Joshua must again regain his – he did it once already remember when he dethroned Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.
There are precedents for believing all is not lost here. Remember that Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao happened really five years after the fight was most sellable. And it STILL produced record PPV buys of 4.6million in the United States.
So yes we’ll have to wait a little while, but we may still get that Fury vs Joshua showdown at long last.