Only recently I was writing about the back-and-forth contract negotiations delaying one of the biggest fights in British boxing history, with AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn repeatedly saying the fight is 100% on and will take place this summer.
What is now clear, is that statement was a tad optimistic. Apparently, lurking in the background was the small matter of a court case lodged by Deontay Wilder, which after arbitration, ruled in the former champions favour. Wilder vs Fury, which was a draw first time out and was followed by a dominant display by Fury in the second, were due to meet for the trilogy but this was delayed due to Covid. Team Fury, along with his veteran promoter Bob Arum, were certain that this agreement had expired, with Arum stating that the arbitration ruling by judge Daniel Weinstein, was a “shocking moment”.
What we do know is that he reported £107 million site fee being put up by Saudi Arabia is now irrelevant, as on Saturday, Fury publically signed a 2-page contract for the Wilder fight. Quite why it took months for Fury to finally agree to a contract with AJ just the day before his arbitration case, is anyone’s guess.
Eddie Hearn, who has been uncharacteristically quiet the last few days, must be wondering why he was allowed to move heaven and earth to try and make one of boxing’s biggest fights, whilst this court case was unresolved. Hearn is usually a stickler for contractual details and this has certainly wrong-footed him.
AJ had an agreement with the WBO, to delay his mandatory defence until this huge fight was out of the way, but they have now announced that he must face challenger Oleksandr Usyk 18/0/0 (13 KOs) in August. Joshua is expected to defend the IBF, WBA and WBO belts against former undisputed cruiserweight champion.
Usyk who was highly regarded as an undisputed Cruiserweight champion, has only had two fights at Heavyweight so far with his most recent a points decision over British gatekeeper Dereck Chisora.
Yet to impress me at heavyweight, the boxing fraternity must be seeing something I’m can’t, as although an excellent boxer, he won’t have the power to trouble AJ and I expect the champion would eventually get to him and that would be that.
With both of their respective defences presumably going the right way, it is expected that the fight will eventually be made later in the year and hopefully with crowds being permitted by then, we could see it taking place in the UK.
I sincerely hope it does, it would be a terrible shame if it became like Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather, which was eventually made five or six years later than we hoped.