Timing is everything in boxing – inside and outside the ring – which is why, after the sad retreat from battle of Tyson Fury at the weekend, Anthony Joshua is being catapulted towards an unexpected multi-title world heavyweight fight with Wladimir Klitschko, possibly in the UK in late November.
No deals are done, but a lot of words have been exchanged. There is precious little sentiment in the business and, as Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, said on Monday: “The show must go on.”
The show he wants is the one he has already been talking about to Klitschko’s promoter, Bernd Boente. Early indications are there is a good chance their fighters will meet sooner rather than later for one or more of Fury’s belts – he has held versions under the jurisdiction of the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO since beating Klitschko in November – which are likely to be vacated, and Joshua’s IBF title.
As Hearn told Sky Sports: “This is a huge fight. I believe Klitschko against Joshua is a favourite for 26 November. This is a deal that would move very quickly. It has to, if we’re going to strike. I would like to get everything sewn up by the end of this week in terms of who Anthony Joshua is fighting next.
“It’s a fight that he really fancies. We know how dangerous it is but Joshua is fresh, sharp, ready and he wants those big fights. Perhaps it’s a fight one or two too early for us, but Joshua is more than ready to take this challenge on.”
He added: “On Saturday, we reached out to Bernd Boente and, since then, we’ve had a couple of very positive conversations. I was with Anthony this morning in the gym. It’s the fight he really wants. If the WBA belt is on the line – which I believe it would be – the unification fight between Joshua and Klitschko [could be signed]. The deal’s got to be right, of course. We’ve got Joseph Parker [the unbeaten New Zealander], our mandatory as well. That’s also a good fight for us if the Klitschko fight doesn’t happen.”
Hearn echoed the concern and uncertainty in the sport about Fury. “It’s a difficult situation. He needs to get the right treatment and help.”
On when the troubled champion might fight again, Hearn said, “It doesn’t really matter what I think. The governing bodies want that belt to be active, so I think over the next couple of weeks the contenders will be putting pressure on those governing bodies.
“They’ve probably made their minds up already. I guess they can’t put a time on when he’ll back, and I think that’s one of the problems. If it was a straight-up injury, they could say he’d be back in December or January or February. But he clearly needs time away from the sport. We don’t know how long Tyson will be out of the ring. We wish him well, of course. But the sport has to go on and I think the governing bodies will want to get those belts active as soon as possible.
“In the meantime there won’t be much compassion from the governing bodies and I think they’ll perhaps put the champion in recess and move forward with the belts. When Tyson is ready to fight again, hopefully we’ll all welcome him back into the sport. I think he’s great for the sport. He’s got one of the biggest wins of a British fighter of all time. I want him in the division. I know Anthony wants him in the division and, of course, everybody does, because those big fights are out there. Hopefully he gets well soon and we can see him back in the ring soon.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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