With Deontay Wilder granted his rematch with Tyson Fury, is a Battle of Britain against Anthony Joshua DEAD? Could the Bronze Bomber still step aside? Who will AJ face next? And is the Gypsy King right to be furious over the American’s £14m demands?
- Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua’s Battle of Britain has been plunged into doubt
- A judge ruled Deontay Wilder has a contractual right to a third fight with Fury
- Fury must know pay Wilder off to step aside of face him before September
- We try to make sense of the messy situation and answer all the key questions
Tyson Fury and his team avoided the giant elephant standing in the room for as long as they could. Now its trampled their plans.
What will it cost to sort out? Well it certainly won’t amount to peanuts.
Just when the fight that seemed like it might never happen appeared to be happening, the rug was pulled from under Fury’s feet by Deontay Wilder.
Fury’s team knew a US judge was reviewing Wilder’s claim of a contractual right to a third fight, but kicked the can down the road and entered negotiations with Anthony Joshua.
They were confident it wouldn’t be a problem. They were wrong.
Anthony Joshua’s fight with Tyson Fury has been plunged into doubt after US judge ruling
The arbitration verdict on Monday night was that Fury legally owed Wilder a third fight.
It could well transpire that he owes Wilder a whole lot more than that should he decide to try and persuade the American power puncher to step aside to enable him to challenge AJ for the undisputed heavyweight crown.
Fury claimed Wilder has asked for $20million (£14m) to forgo his shot at redemption. Whether or not that is deemed a reasonable amount to hand over in exchange for free passage to the biggest fight in British boxing history only time will tell.
It’s a complicated situation with a very straightforward resolution. As Frank Warren said, Fury has got two options; he pays Wilder to step aside or fights him first.
Here, Sportsmail attempts to explain the messy state of affairs and answer all the big questions.
Fury (right) has been told he must fight Wilder (left) in a trilogy fight by September
Because Wilder won a legal judgement enforcing his contractual right to a third fight.
The Bronze Bomber triggered his rematch clause immediately after his brutal stoppage defeat against Fury last February.
Plans were made for their trilogy fight with an initial date pencilled in for last summer before coronavirus pushed it back.
When the two teams failed to agree on a date for winter time of 2020, Fury abandoned the fight altogether, believing Wilder’s contractual right to a rematch had expired.
Wilder’s slow recuperation from surgery for a bicep injury sustained in his defeat by Fury made it impossible for him to commit to fighting before the contract deadline, clearing the path for the Gypsy King to open up talks with Anthony Joshua.
However, Wilder took his case to legal arbitration in America in November, and US judge Daniel Weinstein ruled on Monday that Fury has to face him in a second rematch before September, plunging his proposed £100million showdown with Joshua into doubt.
Fury, who destroyed Wilder last February, needs to agree a step-aside fee with him in order to secure his fight against Joshua
Could Wilder still step aside?
Talks are underway to reach an eight-figure settlement and figures involved in the discussions confirmed to Sportsmail that they believe a compromise with Wilder can be reached.
This publication’s understanding is that a step-aside fee could run north of £14million given the strong negotiating position Wilder now holds.
Wilder’s new trainer Malik Scott has however put a dampener on hopes of any settlement being reached by claiming the former WBC champion is hellbent on exacting revenge.
‘Wilder declined and had no interest in step-aside money,’ Scott said.
‘You’re all dealing with a whole different type of motherf***** over here.
‘He want the blood, not that step-aside money. “Retribution is upon us”.’
At this stage only Wilder knows if he intends on being bought off or not.
Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott (right) claimed heavyweight isn’t interested in step-aside money
Who will Joshua fight if Fury takes on Wilder?
Eddie Hearn, who promotes both Joshua and Usyk, is already in talks with the Ukrainian’s team about a possible fight on August 21 or 28.
Usyk, the former cruiserweight king, is the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBO world title and will get his shot should Fury fail to accommodate Wilder.
The 34-year-old’s position as WBO mandatory had initially threatened to scupper the Brit’s deal to fight Fury, with AJ facing the prospect of having to vacate before the governing body approved their undisputed showdown.
Usyk had been in negotiations to take on Joe Joyce for the WBO’s interim version of the world title but has delayed progress to pursue his shot at Joshua.
The unbeaten Ukrainian has won both of his fights up at heavyweight, defeating Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora, since cleaning up at cruiserweight.
Oleksandr Usyk is Joshua’s WBO mandatory and in talks with Eddie Hearn to face him next
Are Wilder and Usyk threats to ruining everything?
Usyk has flattered to deceive since moving up in weight but is undeniably one of the most gifted fighters on the planet.
He is an experienced and slick southpaw with serious amateur pedigree and undoubtedly has the tools to defeat Joshua.
Should that happen, it would be catastrophic for AJ’s proposed Battle of Britain with Fury.
Defeat to Usyk would ultimately drive a nail so deep into that coffin it may restrain the door from ever opening again.
The same applies for Fury if he does end up facing Wilder next.
Fury’s demolition job on Wilder in Las Vegas last February has masked the threat the American carries to derailing the world’s biggest fight, with the perceived wisdom that this is as good as a closed chapter.
However comprehensive it was last time, there is no such thing as formalities in heavyweight boxing and while Wilder still has his right hand he’s a danger to any man he shares a ring with.
Wilder (left) and Usyk (right) are both capable of winning and derailing Fury vs Joshua
What if it is no longer an undisputed fight?
If Fury can reach an agreement with Wilder he will fight Joshua for all the heavyweight belts.
If he can’t, he’ll need to retain his WBC world title against Wilder and pray that Joshua can successfully defend his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts against Usyk.
Should either of them lose their title, this fight is as good as dead.
As things stand, this fight will go ahead with all the belts on the line or won’t happen at all.
If Fury and Joshua were both to win their next fights, they should be able to bypass any mandatory obligations they may have to face each in a fight which will determine the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the early 2000s.
The fight will either happen with all the world titles on the line or won’t happen at all
What are the promoters saying?
Hearn has acted swiftly to clarify that this messy situation is ‘on’ Fury and his team and is ‘up to them to sort out’.
The Matchroom boss said he was assured by Fury’s promoters that Wilder’s legal case would ‘not be a problem’ before negotiations began.
Now that it has become a rather big one, Fury’s promoters are working on their next move.
Frank Warren told Sportsmail on Tuesday: ‘The arbitrator ruled in Deontay Wilder’s favour and that means he has ordered the rematch to take place. We obviously have to try to reach some accommodation with Wilder. If we can’t then Tyson has got to make a decision on whether he wants to fight him or not.’
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn (left) said it’s up to Fury’ team to sort out the mess with Wilder
When asked if a Fury-Joshua fight remains the priority, Warren added: ‘Absolutely. That is what everyone wants, what the public wants, we all want to see it.
‘But at the moment we have to deal with Wilder one way or another. We will work hard to make it happen to keep the fight on.
‘He will have to be satisfied. We will have to have to satisfy him, and if it is a settlement he will want paying for it, no doubt about that.’
But Fury’s US-promoter Bob Arum has already put contingency plans in place for a fight with Wilder this summer, having reserved the new 65,000-seater Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for July 24.
Speaking to ESPN this week, he said: ‘We’re not paying Wilder to step aside.
‘It’s better to get rid of him. We can make Fury vs AJ for November or December.’
Frank Warren said they’ll try to pay off Wilder but Bob Arum wants Fury to deal with him first
Is Fury right to be furious with Wilder’s £14m demands?
You can certainly see his point.
The highest amount of step-aside money ever paid in boxing history was the £3million Mike Tyson paid Lennox Lewis so he could vacate his WBC belt and fight Bruce Seldon instead for the WBA version of the world title in 1996.
Sportsmail revealed back in 2019 that Anthony Yarde was offered £1m by Canelo Alvarez to walk away from his world title challenge against Sergey Kovalev but rejected it.
In 2015 Gennady Golovkin accepted $800,000 to allow Miguel Cotto to face Canelo.
These are huge fights for world titles we’re talking about and yet the figures involved would be totally eclipsed by Wilder’s supposed £14m demands.
The Gypsy King (left) is furious that Wilder wants $20million (£14m) to step aside
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