Fury-Joshua Heavyweight Bouts Set Boxing World Abuzz, But Fighters Have Other Work to Finish First

Posted on: June 12, 2020, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: July 2, 2020, 03:42h.

Big news in the boxing world broke this week when British heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua agreed in principle to a two-fight deal for next year. However, before we can gear up for those seemingly titanic bouts and potentially have a unified champ, both fighters still have some work to do this year, and possibly next.

Fury Joshua boxing
Tyson Fury, right, knocks down Deontay Wilder in their February fight in Las Vegas. But the champion will need to beat Wilder again before he can square off against fellow British heavyweight Anthony Joshua. (Image: Getty)

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO), the current WBC and lineal heavyweight champion, announced the agreement in an Instagram post on Wednesday. He also acknowledged one hurdle he has before he can prepare for Joshua (23-1, 21 KO), the current WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO belt holder.

One problem, I just got to smash Deontay Wilder’s face right in in the next fight, and then we go into the Joshua fight,” said Fury.

Back in February, which doesn’t seem like it was less than four months ago, now, does it, the Gypsy King put on a show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fury battered Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO) throughout and eventually scored a technical knockout in the seventh round when Wilder’s team stopped the match.

Just days after the bout, Wilder triggered the automatic rematch clause to schedule a third fight between the two. The pair also fought an epic bout in December 2018 that ended in a draw after Fury survived a knockdown in the 12th and final round.

The initial thought was that Fury-Wilder III would take place this fall. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made that unlikely, meaning the re-rematch possibly won’t take place until closer to the end of the year. On Thursday, The Athletic reported the final fight of the Fury-Wilder trilogy may not take place until November or December. Because of COVID-19, the fight may take place in Macau.

FanDuel lists Fury as the -350 favorite (Wilder +250) if the third bout takes place before the end of the year. DraftKings is even heavier in Fury’s corner, listing him at -420 to Wilder’s +270.

Other Hurdles Remain

Joshua, who avenged his only loss in December with a unanimous decision win over Andy Ruiz, has a fight to get ready for as well. However, his bout with Kubrat Pulev, the mandatory IBF challenger, will not take place on June 20 at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium because of the coronavirus.

A new date for that match up, in which Joshua is an -1100 favorite, according to FanDuel (Pulev +590), has not been set.

There may even be one more wrinkle before we get Fury-Joshua. Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, whose Matchroom Boxing outfit represents Joshua, also manages Dillian Whyte. Whyte is the mandatory WBC challenger, and both Hearn and the organization have said Whyte must get the fight before the end of February 2021.

Promoter Bob Arum, who is in Fury’s camp, gave an interview this week to Pep Talk UK and said that the WBC could make Fury a “franchise champion” and absolve Fury of the mandatory challenge.

“If Joshua beats Pulev, if Fury beats Wilder, the fight that everyone wants to see all over the world would be Fury and Joshua,” Arum said. “Mandatory fights should not be able to derail a fight the public wants to see.”

Sportsbooks Make Fury Slight Favorite

No US sportsbook has odds yet on Fury-Joshua. But some overseas books have already posted odds on the battle of the Brits.

In Great Britain, SkyBet listed Fury as the 1/2 (-200) favorite, with Joshua at +150. Betway has Fury at -189 to Joshua’s +162, with odds on a draw at +2200.

In Australia, Bet365 has Fury at -200 to Joshua’s +150.