Anthony Joshua

Hearn On Fury-Joshua Talks: We Accepted 60/40 Offer, Lots Of Conversations To Be Had

A blockbuster fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua is back on track.

Or at least back in the headlines.

Talks are underway to resurrect what has been long hailed as the biggest fight in British heavyweight history, both sides have acknowledged to UK media in recent days. Joshua (24-3, 22KOs) would enter as the challenger for Fury’s lineal/WBC heavyweight championship, which is tentatively targeted for December 17 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The first round of talks have revealed that Joshua’s side has been offered—and has tentatively accepted—a purse split of 60/40 in favor of Fury, along with a rematch clause. There remains work to be done, including how to split between broadcasters. Fury fights for BT Sport while Joshua recently inked a long-term deal with DAZN, though early talks have suggested such matters can be worked out as long as Fury is serious about going through with the fight.

For now, Joshua’s side remains interested enough in the fight to play out the string.

“I saw the callout and took it with a pinch of salt,” Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s career-long promoter and chairman of Matchroom Sport, admitted during an at-length interview with IFL TV’s Kugan Cassius. “Two weeks ago, he retired. Ten days ago, he wanted to fight Derek Chisora in December. Then he wanted to fight Oleksandr Usyk. Then he wanted a half-a-billion or he’d never fight again. Then he wanted to fight Anthony Joshua. I don’t really trust or believe anything he says. But of course, you have to take it seriously, if it serious. We have to explore whether it is or not.

““In essence, we accepted the offer. Lots of conversations to be had,”

The superfight was previously explored at least three times before and even agreed to in full last spring. Joshua held the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles at the time of agreeing to terms to face Fury last August in what would have been for the undisputed championship. Those plans were squashed, however, due to Fury’s inability to free himself from a contractually-bound trilogy clash with Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs), per the terms of their February 2020 rematch.

“Don’t forget, we signed for that fight a year ago,” noted Hearn. “That fight was stopped because of the Wilder arbitration. That had nothing to do with us. We also offered Tyson Fury that fight when he wasn’t champion. We offered at 60/40. He turned it down and asked for 50/50.”

Fury went on to face Wilder for a third time, recovering from two knockdowns to score three of his own before knocking out his longtime rival in the eleventh round of their October 9 clash that was hailed as the 2021 Fight of the Year.

The bout came two weeks after any hopes of an all-UK undisputed championship were dashed. Joshua suffered the first of two decision losses to Oleksandr Usyk last September 24 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London, once again coming up short in their August 20 rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Watford’s Joshua was prepared to return in December, likely in a lower-level but still high-profile fight given his massive box-office presence. The hope was to keep him active and confident in rebuilding towards a hoped-for third championship reign.

The latest social media barrage by Manchester’s Fury (32-0-1, 23KOs) altered those plans.

Fury insisted earlier in the week that he was prepared to make a serious offer to Joshua to challenge straightaway for his lineal/WBC title. The claim was made on the heels of his previously targeting an undisputed championship with Ukraine’s Usyk (20-0, 13KOs), which of course trailed his most recent retirement announcement.

However, there was cause for optimism once dialogue opened between domestic promotional rivals Queensberry Promotions—founded by Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren—and Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

“So, George Warren reached out to me,” Hearn revealed, referring to Warren’s son and CEO of Queensberry Promotions. “He said, ‘What do you think?’ The big thing for us over the past couple of weeks is if AJ would be ready for the middle of December, which would be December 17. He believes—the team believes he will be ready on that date. The first thing for us was, I reached out to AJ, to Freddie Cunningham at 258. I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Of course. I want that fight.’”

Naturally, the early round of talks already comes with its fair share of posturing. Frank Warren initially proposed a November date, despite Fury going on record one day prior claiming to be prepared to fight in December. Joshua—through Hearn—insisted he would be ready to fight on December 17, a date on which Queensberry still has a hold at Principality Stadium in Cardiff from when Fury previously teased the idea of a third fight with Derek Chisora.

Hearn confirmed receipt of an offer from Queensberry for a 60/40 split in Fury’s favor, which also includes a rematch clause. Joshua is on board for such terms, with the understanding that the fight would take place in mid-December, while Fury has already taken to social media to insist the fight needs to take place November 26 or December 3, or that he’s moving on to the next one.

Rather than react, Joshua and his team remain patient as they view this long-sought fight as top priority.

“I don’t know if this is a play to let this break down and then fight someone under par in November or December by saying, ‘Well, I tried to make the AJ fight’ or this is to try to get the Usyk fight for lowball money,” Hearn admitted. “There’s a lot of people who if they wanted him to fight Usyk in the spring, they wouldn’t want him to fight AJ in December because that would slow things down. Or maybe he just wants the fight.

“So, we’re going through all the process. All I can tell you at the moment is we accepted 60/40. That’s great news for everybody. Hopefully we can have those conversations. If they genuinely want the fight, we’re here. Our plan after the Usyk fight was to see AJ fight in December, then March, then go into a big fight like a Fury, a Wilder or a Dillian Whyte. But, if it’s a shot at the world heavyweight title and a fight he always wanted, he’ll do it.”

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