Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are heading to a 2021 mega-fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world, with the Gypsy King’s trilogy battle against Deontay Wilder in December being abandoned.
The first of potentially two Fury-Joshua blockbusters next year has been made possible by the imminent expiration of Wilder’s contractual right to a rematch following the sensational loss of his WBC world title in a second clash with Fury in Las Vegas this February.
Fury will now make a warm-up defence of his belt before Christmas, while Joshua defends his WBA, IBF and WBO titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on December 12.
Sources on both sides of the Atlantic confirmed that Fury-Wilder III is now off.
Assuming neither suffers an unimaginable defeat this winter, Joshua or Fury should become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
The Joshua vs Fury fight is understood to be earmarked for the spring at Wembley Stadium, if the government lifts fan restrictions by then, or in either the Middle East or China.
The only conceivable impediment to boxing finally regaining an outright champion of its marquee division would be Olexsandr Usyk enforcing his mandatory right to challenge Joshua for the WBO belt if he defeats Dereck Chisora in London at the end of this month.
It would be in the best interests of the sport and their own finances for the WBO to grant a temporary waiver but if they refuse Joshua would be likely to relinquish that belt in favour of two near-hundred-million-pound paydays against Fury.
Joshua and Pulev will happen behind closed doors. Fury’s return to the ring against an as-yet unnamed opponent will either be devoid of fans, also, or located abroad in one of a number of countries ready to offer large site fees.
Fury, who made two tick-over appearances in America between his dramatic draw and ensuing sensational demolition of Wilder in LA and then Vegas, would prefer ‘a homecoming fight in England.