The all-British heavyweight title unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury is indeed under threat, Eddie Hearn has confirmed.
An American arbitrator has ruled that Fury is contractually obliged to complete a trilogy with Deontay Wilder by 15 September, decreasing the chances that the ‘Gypsy King’ will face Joshua in Saudi Arabia on 14 August as planned.
AJ’s promoter Hearn has said he is giving Fury’s team until the end of the week to find a way around the third fight with Wilder, otherwise he will turn to “Plan B”.
“We had a deal in place with Tyson Fury and we were told the arbitration wouldn’t be an issue, that we could move on with this fight,” Hearn said on Matchroom’s social media channels.
“They [Fury’s promoters] were wrong and that’s on them – that’s their responsibility and their problem. We hope they can solve that problem, but we have to look after ourselves and Anthony Joshua.
“We have to maintain the position of unified world champion, and those talks will continue and we want to be in a position by the end of this week to know are we fighting Tyson Fury or are we moving forward with another option.”
Hearn said Joshua could instead fight the mandatory challenger for his WBO belt, undefeated Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.
“I had been focusing on Plan A. The only fight was Fury and we hope it can still take place,” Hearn said. “But if his hands are tied, we’ll have to look elsewhere.
“The game changed — we have to have a Plan B in place, and probably a Plan C. We have different options. The one that springs to mind is Usyk.”
Fury and Wilder fought to a split-decision draw in December 2018 before Fury won their second fight by seventh-round stoppage last February.
Fury moved on from plans for a potential third fight with Wilder, which were complicated by an injury to the American and an absence of available television dates.
Fury announced the date and location of his planned fight with Joshua in a video on his Twitter account on Sunday.