On 12 December 2020, world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defended his WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles with a knock-out win against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev inside nine rounds at London’s Wembley Arena. Joshua knocked down Pulev twice in the third round and twice more in the ninth to keep the chances of a battle with Tyson Fury on track for 2021.
The fight of their lives
The Joshua vs. Fury match will be the biggest fight in boxing and probably the best fight of their lives for both men. It is likely the match will be shown around the world. In Las Vegas, there will be bets on the fights, there will also be bets on the tables.
One can only hope that the fight will not be as sad as that against Pulev or that of Larry Holmes vs Muhammad Ali in 1980 that forced Ali into a humiliating corner retirement at the end of 10 one-sided rounds. This fight in Las Vegas was pitiful, but the casinos were packed, with players who had yet to learn how to win at craps stood six-deep around the tables. They gathered about the roulette and the blackjack tables, even at the wheel of fortune, spending fortunes.
Both fighters have dominated the division for the past few years alongside Deontay Wilder. Fury defeated Deontay Wilder, despite only managing a controversial draw in their first fight. Now, both Fury and Joshua hold the four heavyweight titles, making a clash between the two a highly-anticipated event.
Provisional date: May 2021
It has been reported that Joshua is set to fight Tyson Fury in May 2021 after talks between Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn and Fury’s US representative Bob Arum. Hearn told Sky Sports that the men want to move to set up the fight swiftly to confirm the title of undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
Currently, the May 2021 date is provisional as there are some issues that need resolution before the governing body can give the date for confirmation, but the consideration of contracts to be drawn up is already underway as every member of both teams want this fight to take place soon.
Issue with WBO Usyk
One of the issues may relate to what Hearn has previously revealed, that Joshua may have to give up the WBO belt in order to fight Fury since Oleksandr Usyk is his mandatory challenger. Joshua is said to be willing to fight Usyk, but a bout against a fellow Brit is his top priority. Usyk’s team have already made it clear that they want to fight Joshua in 2021 in order for the 33-year-old Ukrainian to get his shot at the titles.
If Fury is unable to contractually fight Joshua, the next fight will be between Joshua and Usyk who is also a great fighter and it promises to be a great fight, even though that is not the current focus.