This summer was supposed to bring the eagerly anticipated heavyweight clash between World Champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, only for legal issues to intervene at the 11th hour. The man responsible for derailing the proposed unification fight was one Deontay Wilder, who American courts ruled in favor of, claiming that the man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama has the right to rematch Fury next month.
Wilder, though, isn’t stopping there. On the contrary, the 35-year-old is eyeing up a unification fight of his own against Joshua – should he enact revenge on the ‘Gypsy King’ next month.
The public clamor to see Anthony Joshua fight both Fury and Wilder in recent years has steadily grown, ever since the man from Watford claimed his first world title back in 2016. However, when we appear to get close to seeing Joshua in the ring with his two superstar peers, fate always seems to intervene.
Two years ago, AJ v Wilder was regarded as the biggest fight that could be made in boxing. Joshua had yet to taste defeat as a professional, while Wilder was long-reigning WBC World Champion, on a remarkable run of KO victories. Over the following year, Joshua would spectacularly get knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden, only for Fury to spoil the party further by knocking out Wilder in Vegas.
The fact remains that neither world champion fighter should have been put in those scenarios in the first place, as the cross Atlantic megafight was derailed – as it so often is in boxing – by politics. A verbally vicious and very public spat between Wilder and Joshua’s respective promotional companies meant that the unification fight never took place – therefore depriving the fans of what would have been a true brawl for the ages.
A fight most certainly could have been made, but egos appeared to have gotten the better of the main protagonists. Multiple reports claimed that Deontay had turned down a $100 million offer from DAZN to fight Joshua twice, which would have been the American’s biggest payday by a sizeable distance. And yet, somehow, someway, an agreement between the two undefeated fighters never quite materialized.
Fast forward two years, and the landscape is vastly different. For one, Tyson Fury now has the WBC belt that Wilder previously paraded around many a boxing ring. Fury took Wilder apart in their February 2020 clash in Vegas, walking the Alabama native down, forcing the referee to stop the fight in the 6th round.
Had it not been for the intervention of the American legal system, Wilder likely would have been in the boxing wilderness – with no belt, leverage, or mandatory status to help him earn another shot at glory. However, an arbitration in Wilder’s home country has ordered a trilogy fight between him and Fury, despite the one-sided nature of their previous meeting. You can find an array of excellent odds and markets for the upcoming trilogy fight at BoyleSports.com.
The arbitrators concluded that Fury and his team contractually owed Wilder a rematch, and thus, the Brit duty signed the contract to make their July 24th fight official. For the American challenger, possible redemption awaits, but rather than just fixating on getting his WBC belt back, Wilder is also keen to dethrone AJ – and steal his priceless belts in the process. Joshua currently holds the WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO belts, avenging his defeat to Ruiz in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2019 – coming through via a unanimous points decision. For Wilder, there is no reason why a fight with Joshua cannot happen this time around.
“Once I get through Fury, once I do that? You already know what I want,” Wilder told Premier Boxing Champions. “But, as I’m hearing, [Joshua and his team] are already making up excuses – mandatories! I want them to keep that same energy because they tried to make the Fury fight.” Whether a fight can eventually be made between the pair is anyone’s guess. Still, for it to be for all of the marbles, Wilder must get past the enigmatic and impenetrable defenses of Tyson Fury.
Should he do so, fans may finally be granted their wish to see the cross-Atlantic clash between two physical and commercial sporting behemoths. The path to such a fight isn’t clear just yet for Joshua either, who is very likely to meet former undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium later this year. Could the Wilder v Joshua matchup become a reality if the latter prevails? Who knows, but they do say those good things come to those who wait.