As the wait continues for the official announcement of the heavyweight super-fight between WBC king Tyson Fury and WBA Super, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua, another battle is already in progress.
Whilst Fury is currently a 4/7 favourite in the ring with the bookmakers, the ‘Gypsy King’ is already pushing his apparent psychological edge outside of the ropes. A long-time proponent of pre-fight mind games down to the more simple wind-up of his opponents, Fury is currently trying to burrow under Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn’s skin.
Naturally, Hearn is delighted by anything that promotes the fight and adds to its potentially gargantuan pay-per-view figures, even if it costs him some lost sleep.
“Sometimes I’ve woken up and it’s like 12:30am and I’ve just seen missed call, Fury FaceTime. I’ve called him back a couple of times and he hasn’t picked it up. He’s just a wind-up merchant, I think it’s great,” Hearn told The Express. “Where else are you going to get a sport like that? Two blokes that are about to punch each other’s head in and he’s FaceTiming me.
“The mind games are going to be a big part of this fight. That’s another dynamic. Part of the promotion, part of the build-up and part of what’s going to make this fight so big. I think they’ve argued over text, they’ve argued over FaceTime. It’s bizarre.”
The heavyweight unification bout is yet to be signed, but with the contract still being revised the hope remains that Fury and Joshua will engage in the first instalment of a projected two-fight series in June or July.
“It doesn’t have to be in June, it can be in July. The fact is, we’ve got to do two this year,” said Hearn. “July is the absolute latest but ultimately, I keep saying that we’re not going to finalise the site until the deal is signed but there are talks going on [over the location] and it’s going to move quite quickly.
“The plan is that any press tour for this is going to be at the end of March or early April, so in that respect we’ve got six weeks to deliver a signed agreement and a site deal which is fine. So at the moment, no panic. Again, it’s not ‘it happens in June or it doesn’t happen’ but for me, the ideal date would be June then November or December for the second fight.”