"Our priority is to try and make this fight in the UK"
Tuesday 3 March 2020 05:59, UK
Negotiations to pit Anthony Joshua against Tyson Fury this year in the UK are ongoing, according to promoter Eddie Hearn who said: "The undisputed fight must happen in 2020".
Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev on June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while Fury must face Deontay Wilder for the third time with the WBC belt on the line a month later.
"The great thing is that [Fury vs Wilder 3) is in July and we box in June," Joshua's promoter Hearn told Sky Sports News. "Now our intention, and conversations are ongoing, is to finalise the Fury vs Joshua fight for December of this year.
"There's no reason not to get that contracted now, subject to both guys winning in the summer."
Fury and Joshua's next opponent Pulev share a promoter in Bob Arum of Top Rank. Talks over staging Joshua vs Fury immediately were scuppered when Wilder, who lost his undefeated record and WBC title last weekend, triggered a clause for another rematch.
"We had numerous conversations with Bob Arum at Top Rank over making Joshua vs Fury," said Hearn. "But we know that once Wilder exercised that rematch clause, that fight would be made. We understand Wilder wants to win his belt back.
"The proudness and ego of Wilder meant it was very unlikely. He's not stepping aside, he wants this rematch with Fury.
"The undisputed fight must happen in 2020."
Joshua and Fury will inevitably share the ring more than once, Hearn believes, and their undisputed title fight should be staged in the UK.
"Joshua and Fury are certainly going to be boxing twice [or a] trilogy," Hearn said. "That's part of the deal that we are looking to do ASAP - a two-fight agreement with Fury and Arum at the end of this year then summer 2021.
"We must try and do that fight in the UK. Ask AJ and Fury where they would like it, and they would say the UK. We know there will be huge offers from around the world. Our priority is to try and make this fight in the UK.
"There will be two of these, maybe three, so certainly summer 2021 we'll get one in the UK. I would love to make the first one in the UK because we've got two British world champions who will fight for the undisputed title - this is never going to happen again. To do it in the UK would be very special."
Joshua must first avoid a shock result against Pulev, an experienced Bulgarian who has beaten Derek Chisora and Hughie Fury and whose only loss in 29 fights came against Wladimir Klitschko.
"[Joshua] is 100 per cent focused on Pulev, putting on a wonderful performance in one of the best stadiums in the world in front of 70,000 people, then moving onto the undisputed fight in December," Hearn said.
"Pulev has been unbeaten a long time, is the former mandatory to Joshua, he got injured but worked his way back. Arum thinks Pulev wins this fight.
"We have to stay focused and make sure there are no slip-ups, win the semi-final then move onto one of the biggest fights of all time later this year."
Joshua went 12 rounds in his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in December to reclaim his titles but will be more explosive in his next fight, Hearn insists.
About Pulev, Hearn said: "Similar stand-up style to Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. AJ has the chance to revert to his old style in this fight, to come forwards and be destructive.
"We know he had to follow a game-plan against Andy Ruiz Jr in their second fight to get a victory. Against Pulev he can enjoy himself. But Pulev can punch and is very dangerous - he is a big, big guy who is technically very solid. He was a great amateur and has had a stellar professional career.
"You will see the destructive Joshua return. He will be seeking and destroying to knock Pulev out.
"He is thrilled to be boxing in London again, he has a spring in his step.
"You will see a wonderful performance from the ever-improving Joshua."