The clock for a showdown between WBC heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua is ticking fast.
According to Fury’s British promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions, he needs Joshua’s team to provide a response by “the end of this week.” Joshua is backed by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and 258 MGT.
Warren, in a recent interview, expressed optimism that a deal could be struck between the two sides in what would be one of the biggest British boxing fights in recent memory. Fury called out Joshua to a fight earlier this month and laid out a slew of terms, which Joshua then accepted. Queensberry subsequently sent a drafted contract to Joshua’s team last week.
Warren, however, emphasized that Fury has been more than generous with his demands in trying to get a fight with Joshua over the line and that if, for whatever reason, a deal is unable to be made, the fault would not lie with Fury and Co.
“This is the Tyson Fury show,” Warren told SecondsOut.com. “Tyson is the number one heavyweight in the world. It’s his title on the line. AJ’s ranked about number six at the moment … and that’s what it is. But we’re bending over backwards – I’m sorry, Tyson’s bending over backwards to make it happen. Let’s make it happen. There’s no reason why this fight shouldn’t go on.
“If it doesn’t go on, for any reason, it won’t be from our side. If it doesn’t go on I can’t believe that AJ – after what he’s come out and said that he wants to fight – that it can be down to him (Fury). So make it happen. We only have a short window to do this. By the end of this week we need this – it’s either on or it’s not. And if it’s not we’ll move on. And they'll do what they got to do.”
“If it doesn’t happen, do not be looking at us,” Warren warned. “Do not be blaming us.”
Warren was also asked about one of key issues involved in negotiations between Fury and Joshua: the broadcasting rights. Fury has exclusive broadcasting deals with BT in the UK and ESPN in the USA, while Joshua has his own exclusive partnership with DAZN. Despite the seemingly considerable issues at hand, Warren is optimistic that both sides can come to some kind of agreement.
“I believe the TV companies should not stop this fight from happening and I don’t believe they will,” Warren said. “How could you stop the biggest fight in god knows how many years in British boxing? You can’t stop that from happening. Anyone who steps in or causes a problem hasn’t got British boxing’s best interests at heart. And the reason I say that is the money isn’t the issue. Normally it’s the issue, it’s the money. The money’s not the issue.
“So, it’s about the TV companies working with each other and I can’t believe any executives – and I know from BT’s perspective it wouldn’t be any problems – any executive that would stand in the way of this happening. If they do, how can they be in the boxing business?”
Joshua is coming off a points loss to Oleksandr Usyk in their heavyweight unification rematch last month in Saudi Arabia. Fury last fought in the spring, a sixth-round stoppage of countryman and mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte.