As World Boxing News previously explained, an eight-competitor tournament to crown one sole undisputed heavyweight champion is all but set in stone.
World champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will be joined by three mandatories, a contracted rival and two other scheduled opponents in what will be a seven-bout extravaganza leading to an end-game of one ruler.
Joshua faces Kubrat Pulev in what was due to be the opening battle, although a date for that clash is still up in the air. Several attempts to get the fight over the line have failed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Joshua vs Pulev
Promoter Eddie Hearn has been criticized for his lack of engagement by Pulev’s team.
Pulev co-promoter Ivaylo Gotzev said: “Let’s get after Eddie Hearn and the champ (AJ) because enough is enough. He hasn’t got his stuff together. We are still waiting for a new date.
“I understand that the whole world has to reset somewhat, but people in the fight game are back in business.
“We are hoping Eddie might take note and start making some moves – but we are still waiting for those moves.”
Pulev was initially penciled in to fight in June, then July. A month later and we are still no closer to confirmation of the Joshua contest.
Hearn is busy overseeing his Fight Camp events, the first of which was staged in his father’s garden over the weekend.
It’s hoped that Joshua vs Pulev can be a done deal by November, even without or with minimal fans. It will kick-off a competition unseen in recent years.
Ex-AJ opponent Dillian Whyte will certainly become the round-robin opener now. This is due to the Joshua vs Pulev indecisiveness.
Even Fury’s second rematch with Deontay Wilder, which should also have happened in July, won’t be ready.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Derek Chisora, the WBO final eliminator for the winner of Joshua vs Pulev, should now be a done deal before Fury vs Wilder III.
Prior to that, Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin will begin proceedings. But once underway, interest is set to spike.
It’s believed every single bout on offer will be a Pay-Per-View affair on at least one side of the Atlantic.
Joshua vs Pulev, Whyte vs Povetkin, and Chisora vs Usyk are already penciled in for Sky Sports Box Office on UK soil. Fury vs Wilder III for BT Sport’s opposite number.
Fury vs Wilder
Luckily enough for US fans, only one of those quarter-final bouts, the Fury vs Wilder collision, will go down on their paid platforms.
The likely semi-finals, which should consist of Joshua vs Usyk and Fury or Wilder vs Whyte, if the odds are to be believed, will also be PPV. One hundred percent in the UK.
All British fans are hoping for a Joshua vs Fury heavyweight finale. This is expected to be the highest-grossing PPV of all time – with projections of two million sales for the first time in British history.
It all kicks off with Whyte vs Povetkin on August 22.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.
WBN Editor Phil Jay has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN on Facebook @officialworldboxingnews, Instagram, and Twitter @worldboxingnews.