Who will Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury fight next if their deal collapses? Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk waiting in case negotiations fall through
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury appears to be hanging by a thread as we enter a defining few days in negotiations for the undisputed fight.
Fight contracts were signed last month for the historic heavyweight clash, but this was all contingent on a site deal being secured.
Both camps agreed on a reported $150m deal that would take the fight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn insists he is still working to finalise the paperwork and get this over the line.
However, Fury’s US co-promoter Arum said on Thursday night that, from their perspective, the bout is now ‘dead in the water’ as he believes it will take months to complete the Saudi deal.
Arum added that both men will need to take other fights in the summer against different opponents.
Some conflicting reports have since emerged which claim the paperwork will be finalised this weekend.
In truth, it appears everything is up in the air as we head into a crucial period which will determine whether we see AJ vs Fury this summer.
Anthony Joshua’s Alternative Opponent
If Joshua does not fight Fury next, he is almost certain to face Oleksandr Usyk as a mandatory defence instead.
Usyk was first appointed as mandatory challenger by the WBO in mid-2019.
Despite not having even had one win in the division at this point, the Ukrainian was given the position as he was the undisputed champion (and WBO ‘super’ champion) before moving up from cruiserweight.
The mandatory fight was not immediately ordered as the champion at the time – Andy Ruiz Jr – was first was granted an exception for his rematch with AJ.
After the Brit won back his belts, the IBF mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev was due.
This was delayed by the pandemic and so Usyk was again made to wait a further year.
Now, he’s been mandatory for close to two years and, if AJ vs Fury happens, will be made to wait even longer.
If it collapses though, Joshua will be ordered to face Usyk and, unless he vacates, this will be his next fight.
Tyson Fury’s Alternative Opponent
If Fury does not fight Joshua next, a trilogy with Deontay Wilder appears inevitable.
Arum and Fury flew earlier this week to visit the mediator/arbitrator who is ruling over their ongoing legal dispute with Wilder.
When they initially signed for their rematch last year, it was a two-fight deal – meaning the winner would have to oblige the loser with a trilogy bout.
However, towards the end of 2020, Fury’s team announced that – from their perspective – the contract had now expired and so they started negotiating an undisputed fight with Joshua.
Wilder’s team dispute this and have legally challenged it with the two parties awaiting an arbitration ruling.
Mediation previously failed, but it seems Fury’s camp are now restarting talks.
When asked if these discussions could become negotiations for a trilogy bout after all, Arum said: “A switch to negotiation is possible.”
And after saying AJ vs Fury is ‘dead in the water’, Arum told the Mail: “Who else is he going to fight other than Wilder? A third fight between them is huge in its own right.”