Just when it seemed the two-fight series between rival heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua was on the verge of being signed, the ‘Gypsy King’ has cast some doubt on a deal being done for this summer.

Since Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) agreed a deal in principle in 2020, a finalised contract has yet to materialise despite a number of proclamations from AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn that the bout is ‘two weeks away’ from being signed.

Now a frustrated Fury, out of action since a February 2020 stoppage of Deontay Wilder, has said he may turn his attentions elsewhere in order to fight twice in 2021, if a deal cannot be agreed imminently. One would imagine it’s a tactic to push the increasingly frustrating negotiations over the line, but the development is likely to concern some fight fans.

“They’ve had a full year to try and make this fight happen,” Fury told ESPN.com. “Since the last Wilder fight, even before the Wilder fight, they were talking about a fight potentially between me and Joshua. They’ve had a full year to make something happen, and it hasn’t happened as of yet. It is what it is. We’re no further forward today than we were a year ago.

“The way [Covid-19] is at the moment, I don’t think [negotiations have] got much to do with the fighters. It’s to do with the venue, date, place, site fees. It’s to do with everything but the fight itself.

“If that [Joshua] fight doesn’t happen this summer, it’s got to happen sooner or later. But Top Rank has to give me two fights this year. I will fight two times on [Top Rank’s US network partner] ESPN. I don’t care who it is. If it’s not Joshua, we’re looking to fight in April or early May, and the end of the year. If it is Joshua, then June and the end of the year. Bang, bang. So, 2021 is looking bright.”