Boxing is a sport where politics can get in the way of the action. So, when Tyson Fury announced that he was going to fight Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia in May 2021, the boxing world lost its mind. Finally, a fight involving two of the most acclaimed boxers, currently in their primes.
Cruelly, the contest was taken away a mere 24 hours later when a US judge ruled that Fury must face Deontay Wilder in a rematch. Both men quickly scheduled new opponents, leaving the boxing fraternity to wonder whether the most anticipated heavyweight clash since Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson will ever truly go ahead.
Back to the Future
Many view the heavyweight division as lacking talent, yet that has changed significantly since the likes of Fury, Joshua and Wilder have made it to the top of the weight class years ago. That being said, status is fickle and either man could take two steps back and only go one step forward as their current adversaries aren’t walkovers.
Joshua’s upcoming opponent, Oleksandr Usyk, is a dangerous man due to his unpredictability, though he’s a relatively new heavyweight, so nobody knows what he’s capable of in the blue ribband category. Of course, Fury’s upcoming opponent, Wilder, has already proven that he carries the calibre of one-punch power that’s rumoured to take out anyone in the world.
Fury may have beaten him twice in the eyes of pundits and the public, but it only takes a single right hand to land for him to be in trouble. The current boxing odds of 2/7 means he’s a massive favourite, yet John Fury, Tyson’s dad, has already spoken about how Fury shouldn’t have accepted the fight. If he looks past the American, the legacy fight against Joshua will be uncertain as the Gypsy King may come unstuck.
Modern boxers understand that they can’t step into the ring one too many times. If they do, their legacies can unravel as easily as a cheap blanket. To this point, Fury has already outlined his last couple of fights before he retires. According to the Morecambe man, he has three or four fights left in him.
Hypothetically, that leaves a handful if he gets past Wilder, which the bookies expect him to do quite easily. Should Joshua do the same, considering the fact he’s priced at 1/3 odds to take Usyk down, there’s potential. However, the last contract was a two-fight deal with a rematch for the loser. Plus, both men may want a “tune-up” fight in-between to ensure they are fighting fit.
"@Tyson_Fury will send him (Wilder) into retirement this time."— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) September 17, 2021
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Considering Fury doesn’t want to stay around for much longer, it’s feasible that he may walk away forever for the sake of his wellbeing rather than wait around for a contest that may never happen.
Everyone wants the fight to go ahead and Saudi Arabia is the frontrunner to host the potential matchup. The fact that the fighters and the public are desperate to see who will win is telling because it adds pressure.
Bob Arum has spoken of doing his all to make sure the fight occurs, while Eddie Hearn is confident that he can slate the contest for some time in 2022. The demand is so great that there’s talk of Fury and Joshua forfeiting their belts and fighting for no championships. This may be pure speculation, but Tyson’s dad is one of the commentators who believe it’s the best for both parties. Most importantly, it’s healthy for the sport.
The previous deal has set a precedent. It didn’t stand up to the cold light of day, but it showed that everyone involved can put aside their differences. If it does happen, Fury should be the slight favourite.