Eddie Hearn insists there is an agreement in place for Anthony Joshua to fight Tyson Fury this summer if he gets past Jermaine Franklin on Saturday.
Joshua faces a must-win clash with Franklin at the O2 Arena this weekend, desperate to put back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk behind him.
The undefeated Ukrainian, who holds the IBF, WBO and WBA heavyweight titles, was on collision course with WBC king Fury to crown the division’s first undisputed champion in 23 years.
Talks for that bout fell through in spectacular fashion last week however with Usyk now likely to defend his titles against WBA mandatory challenger Daniel Dubois. Fury’s next move is uncertain, and while reports suggest a bout with Joe Joyce could be explored for the summer, the prospect of a Battle of Britain against Joshua could be revived, according to Hearn.
Talks for that fight fell through in the summer of 2021 while Joshua was still world champion, thwarted by Deontay Wilder’s successful arbitration case to force a third fight against the ‘The Gypsy King’.
Fury offered Joshua a shot at his WBC title last September with Joshua agreeing to a 60-40 split in the champion’s favour. While they were unable to agree on other terms, Hearn insists the foundations of a deal are still in place for the fight to happen this summer.
‘I truly believe that as long as AJ beats Franklin we will see him against Fury in the summer,’ Hearn said, the Mail report.
‘Both sides had a deal finalised for a December fight. That fight fell through but the contract is still with both sides.
‘Disputes over purse splits wrecked Fury-Usyk but we have an agreement in place of 60-40 in Tyson’s favour. He was going to get 70-30 against Usyk but everyone accepts that AJ is a bigger draw for the UK fans than Oleksandr.
‘I have had talks this week with George Warren (Fury promoter Frank Warren’s son and consigliere) and fundamentally the original contract is still in place.
‘And we all know that the timing is perfect now, as it happens because of the circumstances with Usyk. And that this is the very last chance for this huge fight to happen.
‘I expect to be exchanging pilot contracts with Queensberry soon. Maybe as early as next week. AJ knows there’s a big opportunity. At last. So much at stake now. But he also has his total focus on Franklin.’
While Hearn is hopeful, Joshua is less optimistic over more talks with Team Fury.
‘If he is doing a 70/30 split for an undisputed heavyweight world title fight, to an already undisputed cruiserweight and unified heavyweight champion, imagine what he is going to try to offer me. It’s just a nightmare,’ Joshua said.
‘But when that fight happens, God willing it does, then my management and promotional team will be in my corner, they will back me, they know what I bring to the table.
‘They would negotiate fiercely to make sure I get a lion’s share of what’s on the table.’
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