By: Sean Crose
According to Bob Arum, it was the absence of a signed contract that ruined the anticipated and planned title fight between Joshua and Tyson Fury. The much hyped battle for heavyweight supremacy was set to go down in Saudi Arabia in August when an arbitrator ruled Fury had to fight Deontay Wilder before September. Hence, Joshua-Fury collapsed, making way or Fury-Wilder 3 and Joshua-Usyk. “The fight couldn’t be finalized for Saudi Arabia and,” Arum tells Sky Sports, “then the arbitrator in the Wilder situation felt that he could, if he decided the case for Wilder, enjoin Fury from fighting anybody else other than Wilder.”
“But if the contract had been signed,” Arum continues, “he never would have done it. He might have given Wilder some damages, but he would not have stopped the fight…but again, there was no signed contract for that fight. That’s what happened. It’s as plain and as simple as that.” This of course is a far cry from the picture of Arum letting a major fight slip by because he was underestimating the threat a legal arbitration represented. Of course, as things stand, Arum’s words here don’t represent anything new, really – other than a new perspective.
With that in mind, Arum makes it clear that he’s still open to Fury-Joshua going down. “Next time around,” he asks, “if it’s Joshua and Tyson Fury, first of all, where should the fight be held?” Arum suggests England might provide a good location – which makes sense, since Fury and Joshua are British. “There’s a big argument that by that time, the pandemic is behind us, we wait until the spring and we do it in Wembley, or one of the big arenas.” Arum also Cardiff Principality might be an excellent location, “because,” he says, “70,000 seats, indoor arena, or it can go to Saudi Arabia.”
For the moment, however, both Fury and Joshua have considerable opposition to face. Fury dominated Wilder in the 2020 rematch of their memorable 2018 bout, and is heavily favored for their third fight in July. Still, Wilder is one of the hardest punchers on the planet. He’s also coming across as completely determined as he trains for their summer battle. As for Joshua, he’s facing former cruiserweight kingpin Alexsandr Usyk, who is both undefeated and in possession of a world class skill set, in September. Should each man get past his next foe, however, their long awaited ring pairing may indeed come to fruition.