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Anthony Joshua “extremely interested” in facing Tyson Fury next

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua would be “extremely interested” in fight Tyson Fury next if a step aside deal can be reached with Deontay Wilder.

Fury claimed the WBC heavyweight championship with a dominant seventh-round knockout of Wilder in February. The previously undefeated American invoke his contractual right to an immediate rematch which was originally scheduled for July before being pushed back to October due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

WBA, IBF and WBO champion Joshua is scheduled to face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in June, although that fight is likely to be pushed back too.

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Hearn believes the boxing shutdown could bring forward the four-belt all-British unification bout rather than pushing it back.

“The one positive that could come out of this for boxing is you might find people jumping into bigger fights sooner rather than later, because of course, their activity has been slowed,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

“Their financial gain has been slowed as well and it probably makes them realise anything can happen – ‘we need to make sure we get this fight in and I need to define my legacy.’

“I think when you look at AJ, I think very much it’s a thought that’s crossed my mind. We’ve got June 20 as a pencilled date for Anthony Joshua.

“We will make a statement potentially this week, or maybe early next week, that’s likely to be delayed. I think that’s pretty straightforward and obvious. Hopefully until the end of July.

“But if it starts kicking on beyond that, then you get to a situation where if Joshua is only going to box once this year, he would very much like that to be against Tyson Fury.

“The situation is a little bit out of our hands in that, if Bob Arum and Al Haymon can talk and make Deontay Wilder wait a little bit, we would absolutely love to go into that fight next.”

Hearn remains optimistic that Fury’s promoter Bob Arum – who also promotes Pulev – and Wilde’s advisor Al Haymon would be amenable to the deal.

“I think a lot of it depends on Deontay Wilder,” he said. “If he’s willing to take that step-aside money. That’s a conversation to be had with Bob Arum and Al Haymon to see if that’s even possible.

“If it was possible and there was a way to make Kubrat Pulev wait, which I think is probably an easier job, then for sure, I think Anthony Joshua would be extremely interested in moving straight into the Tyson Fury fight. I think in an ideal world, we have that fight next.

“It’s always been the case, but if we can fight Kubrat Pulev in July, we’d love to fight Tyson Fury in November, December. At the same time, I think there’s so much uncertainty at the moment, this is the kind of situation that might make people say – ‘I think now is the time.’

“Wouldn’t it be great to bounce back to our sport with a fight like that secured, cemented. I can’t tell you there’s been conversations about it, but it’s definitely something that I’ve thought about and if Mr Arum can come back to us and say, ‘I’ve spoken to Deontay Wilder and yes, there is a deal to be done, or let them work that out, and let’s talk.’

“I don’t think it’s a difficult fight to make, I really don’t. People talk about meeting up. We don’t need to meet up really. It’s only a quick conversation between all the parties to try and get it done, but ultimately if Wilder won’t step aside, there’s no conversation to be had. I’ll let them have that conversation. If they come back to me and say, ‘look, I think we can get him to step aside,’ let’s talk, and let’s try and make it happen.”

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