Barry Hearn has seen most things in his long career in boxing, but the cynic in him believes that an undisputed heavyweight title clash between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury may never take place.
In May, it seemed Joshua-Fury would finally become a reality after months of tiring negotiations, but all that hard work was undone when an arbitrator ruled the ‘Gypsy King’ must fulfil a previously contracted trilogy fight against American rival Deontay Wilder.
Fury-Wilder III was set for July 24 before that bout was delayed following a positive Covid-19 test from the WBC title holder. The trilogy clash was then rearranged for October 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with Joshua’s mandatory engagement with WBO No.1 contender Oleksandr Usyk later confirmed for September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.
Given the logjam of mandated fights, hurdles and ever-present boxing politics, President of Matchroom Boxing Barry is sceptical Joshua-Fury will happen in 2022 or beyond despite son and leading promoter Eddie’s optimism he can revive the fight for Matchroom star ‘AJ’.
“I’m doubtful,” Barry Hearn told BetFred TV. “Eddie thinks it will, but then the money that was available last time didn’t do it. I really hope we do, maybe I’m just getting old and cynical but I really just don’t believe anybody anymore. I listen to a load of rubbish and I am getting to the age where I just don’t want to listen to it anymore.
“I want to say ‘put up or shut up’. Get in the ring, give the public what they want. I know AJ is 100 percent there, and wants to do it tomorrow. So let’s hope Tyson Fury comes through with the same thought process as well. Best of luck to him should he ever fight Deontay Wilder as well.
“We all want to see [Joshua-Fury] so let’s hope, as the dust settles, they both have tough fights, let’s keep our fingers crossed that they both come through and then let’s hope that common sense comes back into the equation and they give the fight fans of the world what we want. That is all we are asking for, it is not a lot to ask, there is hundreds of millions of pounds in it for the fighters, they are never going to want for anything in the rest of their life. All that fight fans want, myself included, is to watch the fight!”
However, Barry Hearn believes the gifted Usyk will pose considerable problems for Joshua in two months’ time and could still ruin any dreams of an all-British heavyweight unification.
“We had a disagreement in the Hearn household,” revealed Barry Hearn. “Eddie is very confident and thinks that AJ is too big for Usyk – I am a big Usyk fan and I think he can cause AJ some problems. I believe AJ can cope with those problems, but it is a hell of a fight to take on.
“It is no tickover fight, put it that way. This is a proper fight and it is what AJ wanted. You don’t want to duck anyone, you don’t want to walk away and on September 25 we are going to have one of the big occasions but there are others coming up.”