Eddie Hearn says he is working on the assumption that the fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will go ahead, even though he still has a plan B if it all falls through.
Joshua agreed to Fury’s offer to box on December 3 in Cardiff, taking the low end of a 60-40 split in purses, with a rematch clause at 50-50. As of Wednesday night, the contract still had not arrived, but Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, says he is positive the fight will happen and says Joshua is already in training camp in Loughborough for the fight.
“You don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes – is this a ploy to speed up the Usyk fight, get more money from a site? It could be anything,” Hearn said.
“But right now I’m going along the lines of I believe them because I want to be positive and try and work together to make it happen.”
Fury’s offer to Joshua on social media came out of the blue after Joshua had lost his rematch to Oleksandr Usyk, before the Ukrainian said he did not want to face Fury in an undisputed world title fight until next year.
“We hadn’t anticipated anything,” Hearn said. “Then George Warren called me and said ‘he’s serious, what do you think?’
“I said ‘I don’t know, is he really serious because I don’t believe him?’
“I spoke to AJ and George said we would have an offer. We got an offer and myself and George agreed we would keep everything under wraps and the next thing Fury had told everyone the offer on social media.
“We went back and said we can’t do November but would accept December 17 and we said we accept 60-40, but would like to flip it the other way for the rematch if AJ wins. They came back and said no to the flip and it’s got to be November 26 or December 3, if you don’t agree to all of that there is no fight.
“So I went back to AJ and said ‘I have no idea if they are genuine but if they are, these are the only terms they will accept’. He said ‘I accept, if they are bluffing we will find out, but I want to do the fight’.
“If they are genuine, and George tells me they are, I think the fight gets made.
“I think George feels his instructions are to make the fight, but you never know with Tyson Fury. If he genuinely wants the fight…. We couldn’t have done any more. We just said we will accept all terms.
“It might have been a bluff or a bit of publicity that actually turns into the fight happening. Or maybe he was genuine from the start. Or maybe it is a ploy to get more money out of another situation, I don’t know.”
Hearn doesn’t anticipate any problems in the two boxers’ broadcasters – BT Sport and DAZN – agreeing a deal and said Joshua was just keen for the chance to face Fury.
“I think he is just thinking ‘I have always wanted to fight Tyson Fury’,” Hearn said. “He signed for the fight before all the Wilder stuff. He thinks this is the only chance he gets to fight Tyson Fury. ‘It would have been better to come off a victory, but we’re here and I think I can beat him and I feel good’. He fancies his chances, he’s willing to roll the dice.
“It is win-win for AJ. People think fair play for stepping up to the plate and the flip side is if he wins.”
The pair had been expected to meet in the summer of 2021 for the undisputed world heavyweight title in Saudi Arabia, before a US judge ordered Fury to face Deontay Wilder instead.
Now there will be significantly less money on the table, although the pay-per-view takings in the UK will be massive.
“They will earn less than they would have earned in Saudi, but they’re still making a huge amount of money,” Hearn said.
“I don’t know many people who follow sport who won’t watch this fight. This does over 2 million buys comfortably.”
Hearn’s original plan had been for Joshua to return to the ring on December 17 and he says that will still happen if the Fury fight falls through.
“My biggest concern is – and what I won’t allow to happen – I’m not having AJ fighting in December because we made that decision for him to fight in December,” Hearn said.
“I’m working on December 17 as well while we go because I can’t put AJ’s future in the hands of Tyson Fury. While we will be as positive as we can, as helpful as we can be, I need to have Plan B up my sleeve because this might not happen.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 – covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.