Joshua / Fury / Wilder: Why 2018 is a massive year for the heavyweight division
Anthony Joshua’s unconvincing victory over a twenty pound lighter Carlos Takam has spawned cries from the sport to make a fight with Tyson Fury.
Joshua’s win, which was secured despite a broken nose suffered in the second round, left a flat feeling that the heavyweight division needs an injection of something new to chew on.
That’s where boxing misses the currently dormant Tyson Fury, who is still out of action due to a reported failed drug test and an ongoing dispute with the British Boxing Board of Control.
The UK needs to see this fight, and witnessing Joshua face Deontay Wilder in the interim should be merely the appetizer to what could be the biggest heavyweight bout on UK soil for some time.
‘AJ’ is dominating the world scene at the moment, due to his massive power and likeable, polished persona outside the ring, whilst Fury is the polar opposite which makes the clash all the more intriguing.
Forking out £20 to see Joshua struggle in parts against an also-ran like Takam, many agree is taking the sport places it shouldn’t be going, whilst the current king facing the former ruler is a much tastier affair which those loyal punters deserve for their continued payments.
But will we ever see it?
Possibly not as it’s doubtful whether Fury will even grace the ring again as the clock ticks away on what was once a career with the world as its feet.
Peter Fury opened up in the aftermath of Joshua’s win, although himself didn’t seem 100% sure the fight could get off the ground on the back of promoter Eddie Hearn immediately mentioning Fury’s name. Hearn surely knew deep down the Takam event wasn’t what the paying public signed up for following a last minute change to the headliner.
Kubrat Pulev pulling out was a disaster, whichever way you look at it, but Hearn pursuing Fury straight away is merely a dream that can’t and won’t come true just yet.
Several layers of red tape continue to keep Fury’s career at bay and the boxing faithful can only hope Wilder can be secured next despite obvious animosity between both handlers.
Hearn and Lou DiBella clearly don’t get on and this issue could mean negotiations for any unification may not go smoothly.
Using Dillian Whyte as bait, another UK heavyweight who is not helping Hearn sell the division with his in-ring actions – is not the answer and Joshua needs to be pitched in with Wilder sooner rather than later.
If Fury doesn’t get back in shape to fight soon, it could leave the highest limit in danger of falling into a Klitschko-esque lull in the meantime.
So why not pitch Fury a comeback fight against Joseph Parker for the WBO title? A highly winnable fight in March or April – even if Fury is not in the best shape, to hand the 28 year-old an opportunity to avenge his cousin Hughie’s loss.
Fury may have to go to New Zealand and fight under their jurisdiction to seal the deal, but claiming that title then makes the winner of a Joshua v Wilder match-up all the more meaningful.
Parker v Fury in the spring alongside Joshua v Wilder would lead nicely into a massive match-up in the late summer to fully unify the belts and crown one sole king of the heavyweights.
Failing that, a World Boxing Super Series featuring Joshua, Wilder, Fury and Parker as the top seeds, joined by Alexander Povetkin, Lucas Browne, Dillian Whyte and the winner of David Haye v Tony Bellew II would do nicely despite being a huge pipe dream at this stage.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay