After long negotiations and declarations of defiance, the idea of a reunification between the two heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury is proceeding. It would be the first total reunification in the queen category since the undisputed champion Lennox Lewis (41-2-1, 32 KOs), who collected three world belts in a time when the WBO had not yet reached the prestige of the other boxing federations.
Negotiations between Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) are already underway, but there are several issues arising from the official challenges imposed by the boxing federations. Tyson Fury holds the WBC title, while Anthony Joshua is WBA, IBF and WBO champion and after facing and beating Kubrat Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs) last December, AJ has yet to fulfill his WBO obligations, which would require him to accept the challenge of Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs). We have already extensively covered this issue in previous articles that you can read here.
The WBO has made it known that Anthony Joshua has already been given a lot of leeway since regaining his title with Andy Ruiz Jr (33-2, 22 KOs). In fact, the English boxer preferred to give priority to his commitments with the IBF by giving life to the fight with Kubrat Pulev and postponing to a later time the one with Oleksandr Usyk. As a result, the talented former Ukrainian cruiserweight Usyk could reject any further postponement, forcing Anthony Joshua to accept the match or to leave the title vacant in order to face Tyson Fury. Oleksandr Usyk‘s manager, Alexander Krassyuk has already stated that he is looking at several opportunities.
In a recent interview, Krassyuk mentioned that he received a call from George Warren (Frank Warren’s son) who presented an offer to promote a fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Joe Joyce for the WBO interim heavyweight title in the spring. In addition, Krassyuk has released another important information about the potential super-fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. According to Usyk’s manager, he has received a letter from the WBO, which reports that they are considering granting their approval for the challenge between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. However,Krassyuk continued mentioning that Usyk has never received any serious offer nor has anyone approached him with a proposal to step aside. Usyk’s team is confident that that the WBO board and its president Paco Valcarcel will never violate the rules of their boxing organization and so will not authorize this big fight without Usyk‘s consent. Alexander Krassyuk is expecting the organizers of Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury to make Oleksandr Usyk a serious offer to fight for a vacant WBO title or to step aside and fight for the interim.
Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua, had previously stated that he would welcome the possibility of a challenge between Oleksandr Usyk and Joe Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) for the interim WBO title, which could guarantee the winner a shot at the winner between Joshua and Fury. Both Usyk and Joyce are undefeated. The Ukrainian defeated Dereck Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) on Halloween night in his second heavyweight bout of his career, while Joe Joyce impressed many by knocking out Daniel Dubois (15-1, 14 KOs) in the 10th round last November 28. For both it could be the right match to then attempt the assault on the title of undisputed champion.
In the meantime, also the president of the World Boxing Council (WBC), Mauricio Sulaiman awaits the official announcement of the super-fight for the heavyweight reunification challenge between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBA, IBO, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua with much trepidation. The fight now seems to be looming. The teams have been working for weeks and the promoters of both boxers, Bob Arum and Eddie Hearn, have said in recent days that they are very close to reaching the desired agreement. Probably the big British derby could take place around May-June.
Mauricio Sulaiman believes that this match could become the biggest match played in this new era of social media: “This will be the first mammoth battle of the social media era. It’s such a different era: from radio, we moved on to television, to pay-per-view… now these events launched on social media, they manage to have a completely different global reach. If this challenge happens, it will undoubtedly be the biggest event of the century and one of the biggest in the sport,” he told The Sun.
This fight would surely be the first in boxing history to have all four heavyweight belts up for grabs (WBO and Oleksandr Usyk permitting as we reported above). An undisputed champion in the premier class has been missing more or less since the days when Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KOs), a period during which the WBO belt, born only a few years ago, was not considered important enough to be included. Fury hasn’t been in the ring since February 22, 2020, since he beat the dangerous Alabama slugger Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) before the limit and captured the WBC heavyweight title at MGM in Las Vegas. Joshua on the other hand was engaged last month at London’s Wembley Arena in the mandatory defense against IBF challenger, Kubrat Pulev who ended up KO.