Tony Bellew believes Anthony Joshua has signed to hold out for a Tyson Fury fight in December.
Following his dominant points victory over Jermaine Franklin, ‘AJ’ was expected and advised to take another fight under new coach, Derrick James, before targetting the division’s top dogs.
He surprised fans and analysts by going against this, announcing that he would be back in the ring in December rather than July as previously promised.
There are plenty of theories as to why – injury, trainer schedule conflict – but the most prominent is that the two-time world champ has signed on for a big money fight in the Middle East.
Bellew buys into that theory, telling DAZN that he thinks WBC Champion, Fury, is next up.
“My thinking, from the outside looking in, it’s Fury. I can’t dress it up as anything else.
Fury’s obviously got to have a fight. He probably said ‘I want another fight before I fight AJ’ and it wouldn’t surprise me if they said you [AJ] can’t have a fight in the interim because we don’t want you to risk anything.”
The former World Cruiserweight Champion was clear that he was just guessing after Joshua’s announcement, which came as a shock to him.
“I’m surprised, because I do know that he wants to head back out to Dallas and start training with Derrick James again. I’m shocked to be honest.”
“I think AJ would want another [fight], but that is something that Fury would do. 100% they would say we don’t want anything to risk this. And I get it, because it’s such a huge fight, AJ’s coming off a win.”
Something that might buoy the theory is that Eddie Hearn recently said Fury-Joshua was a fight that would be made behind closed doors given that the very public negotiations were at the heart of it failing in the past.
Should a deal be done, fans will be torn. There are many things that could play out to hurt the plans between now and December, not to mention the extended period of inactivity for one of the division’s biggest stars, or potentially two.
Still, the domestic clash has been demanded for years now, so if there’s a fight at the end of the long wait then it may just be worth it this time around.