The unpredictability and at times chaotic nature of the boxing business is what makes it so popular among purists and casual fans alike. That was evident once again last week, after Anthony Joshua (AJ) agreed to the terms set out to fight current WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on December 3rd.
While that is a match-up that UK and international fans have been craving for a number of years, it’s the timing that has many of us scratching our heads. Joshua is coming off back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk, with his most recent defeat to the Ukrainian taking place not even a month ago. Naturally, many presumed as a result of his win, Usyk would fight Fury for undisputed status some time later this year or in early 2023.
However, Fury made his intentions clear in recent weeks that he wants to keep busy and fight in either November or December – a timeline Usyk was unwilling to commit to. That left the door open for another opponent to take on the undefeated six-feet-nine heavyweight affectionately known as the “Gypsy King”.
That set in motion a series of call-outs from Fury and his camp, the most notable of which was AJ. The terms were a 60/40 split in favour of Fury, with the bout to take place on either November 26th at Wembley Stadium or on December 3rd at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Respectively, those dates were three and two weeks sooner than Joshua had stated would be possible, as it would only allow his team less than three months to prepare.
Given a potential fight between Fury and Joshua has been hyped on many occasions and failed to materialise, cynics believed the reports were simply another opportunity for the Gypsy King to keep his name in the headlines. Equally, provided the emphatic nature in which he was beaten by Usyk, there were just as many who felt Joshua wouldn’t risk the real prospect of a third consecutive loss.
However, reports have surfaced in recent days that Joshua has agreed to Fury’s stipulations, with December 3rd the targeted date. If the fight was to come to fruition, it sets up one of the most interesting clashes in recent memory. For Fury, he risks his chance at becoming an undisputed heavyweight champion – the first of the four-belt era and the first since Lennox Lewis achieved the feat in the three-belt era in 1999.
While he would enter as the heavy bet on sports online favourite, he will be coming up against an opponent who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. If Joshua can defy the odds and secure an historic win, it would immediately catapult him into British boxing folklore – and surprisingly – a third clash with Usyk for all of the belts would be on the cards.
Conversely, if Fury can get the job done as many expect him to do, it will act as a precursor to arguably the biggest heavyweight bout of the 21st century against Usyk. With those variables in mind, fans and pundits will be watching on with great interest to see how negotiations pan out in the coming weeks.
For those researching betting tips for this mega-clash, Fury has opened as the 1/4 favourite, while Joshua is the outsider at 11/4. The longest odds are a draw at 20/1.