Why Anthony Joshua v Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury fights are unlikely to happen in 2018
As speculation continues surrounding a possible Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury mega-fight in the coming year, more and more barriers to those bouts are being put in place.
Despite every boxing fan wanting to see Joshua mix it with the two best heavyweights of his era, there looks likely to be a long delay until at least 2019.
The reason for each fighter in 2018 is explained below:
Joshua has a WBA mandatory hanging over his head which promoter Eddie Hearn is hopeful he can get out of the way in the coming months.
Wembley Stadium is also the favoured venue for both Wilder and Fury bouts to happen and is out of bounds until later in the year.
Facing one of Luis Ortiz (if he retains his #1 rating) in Nigeria or Las Vegas is a firm option for Joshua.
When a Wembley fight is finally possible, Joshua is likely to go up against the winner of the triangle between Joseph Parker, Tony Bellew and Haye.
WBN were informed by Duco Events that Parker is lined up to face the victor of Bellew v Haye II before Joshua in the summer.
This means if Bellew or Haye can win both fights, they too would take that slot against Joshua in the summer.
Once again Wembley is off the menu, whilst the IBF would be certain to call their mandatory against Kubrat Pulev, with Cardiff once again the favourite.
March/April – As Joshua stews over his WBA mandatory, Dillian Whyte would be a solid choice for the ‘Bronze Bomber’ in the spring.
July/August – The WBC would then stipulate their mandatory for Wilder against Dominic Breazeale or Eric Molina.
November/December – With Joshua following up the IBF’s wishes, a Top 15 WBC contender can be hand-picked by Wilder and his team.
March/April – A two and a half year layoff would mean a warm-up for Fury should he even be ready by the first quarter of 2018.
July/August – Shaking off the ring rust would then lead to more solid name to gain a Top 15 rating with one of the major organizations.
November/December – With two wins under his belt, Fury would on be in a position to fight the top-rated contender with his chosen body for a Joshua or Wilder final eliminator.
By the first half of 2019, the path to Joshua v Wilder and Fury would be clear.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay