Public comments on consecutive days from Anthony Joshua—who has been relatively quiet to this point—has the boxing industry more confident than ever that the finish line is in sight for a showdown with Tyson Fury.
Talks have been ongoing for nearly a year between the pair of British heavyweights in a fight to determine the undisputed champion in boxing’s most storied division. Daily updates continue to suggest a deal is within reach, though months of such claims have left boxing fans and insiders jaded on its actual progress.
As he often does so well, the 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and two-time unified heavyweight titlist provided optimism with a direct update.
“Positive news [Sunday] evening! I’m lacing up my running boots [right now],” Joshua revealed through his social media platforms, including his 12.1 million followers on Instagram. “258 MGT and Matchroom Boxing have received the first OFFICIAL offer to host the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
“I will be victorious, God willing! No place to hide now. I’m coming!”
Several locations remain in play for a mouthwatering superfight between Watford’s Joshua (24-1, 22KOs) and Manchester’s Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) in the first-ever undisputed heavyweight championship in the four-plus belt era. Joshua holds the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles, while Fury is the recognized lineal champion and WBC titlist.
Fury has not fought since a 7th round stoppage of Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) in their ESPN/Fox Sports Pay-Per-View headliner last February at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The brash Brit was the first to reveal any such plans of a showdown with his countryman, taking to social media last June to announce a reported two-fight deal with Joshua even as he was still awaiting confirmation of a rescheduled third fight with Wilder.
The matter has become a massive mess ever since then, with Fury-Wilder III falling apart altogether as well as plans for Fury to have fought last December. Fury has spent the better part of 2021 to date publicly demanding confirmation of a fight date with Joshua, threatening to head in a different direction if all parties didn’t honor his self-imposed deadline for the matter to reach resolution.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter and managing director of Matchroom Boxing has remained the most vocal and optimistic out of all involved principles. The onus has been placed on Hearn to secure the most lucrative deal for the celebrated event, suggesting this past Saturday that the first batch of serious offers would be presented to both teams.
It was enough to convince Fury to back off of his stance, publicly celebrating the news on Monday while also indicating that he is stateside and hard at work in anticipation of the clash of heavyweight titans.
The news was clearly also enough to prompt a valid update from Joshua, who rarely speaks on such matters when an agreement isn’t already in place. The latest such message from the wildly popular 31-year-old came on Feb. 23rd, more than two months after his 9th round knockout of Kubrat Pulev last December and at which point he was pleased with talks. With it came the vow of becoming undisputed champion in 2021.
News from this weekend has him feeling even more confident of reaching that status—and more importantly, getting the fight itself over the line.
“Myself, 258 MGT and Matchroom Boxing are working really hard to make this fight happen,” stated Joshua. “I want to give my fans what they want & you know I’ll do whatever I can to deliver.
“Hoping to share some positive news soon.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox