Posted on 05/18/2021
By: Sean Crose
“It was a shock to the system,” Eddie Hearn says to Matchroom Boxing in response to yesterday’s stunning arbitration ruling that Tyson Fury will have to fight Deontay Wilder a third time in September. The ruling means the mega fight that’s been agreed to between Fury and Anthony Joshua, Hearn’s fighter, for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world, may well be smoldering in ruins.
“This negotiation’s been going on for three or four months now,” says Hearn in the video interview, “and we were always assured that this wouldn’t be a problem. It was a very strange decision from the arbitrator, to say the least.” Hearn, who is always cool under pressure, says he spoke with Fury co-promoter Bob Arum last night. “I think he was in complete and utter shock,” he says, “and I’ve never really heard him speechless…he was almost shell shocked, I think.”
Although he’s still holding out hope that Fury-Joshua will be a reality in August, Hearn makes it clear he isn’t going to be blinded by wishful thinking. “I hope it does,” he says of the Fury-Joshua fight going through. “It’s what both guys wanted…we still hope the fight can go ahead, but really that’s completely out of our hands.” Hearn also indicates that team Joshua will be ready to move on. “If his hands are tied,” he says of Fury. “We have to look elsewhere.”
One option is former cruiserweight king Olexandr Usyk, who has moved up to heavyweight and has been waiting for a crack at a world title. “We can’t wait around,” says Hearn. “We had a deal in place with Tyson Fury, we provided an unbelievable opportunity to him. We were told by his team, Bob Arum, that the arbitration wouldn’t be an issue, we could move forward with this fight. They were wrong and that’s on them. That’s their responsibility. That’s now their problem.”
With that in mind, Arum has subsequently come out and indicated he’s actually keen on the third fight with Wilder, if just to get the matter out of the way. This will no doubt come as bad, if not surprising, news to Hearn, who says in the video that “it’s just another day. Another day of ups and downs. This is called the boxing business.” The problem for fight fans, of course, is that there’s now no way of knowing if or when a match for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world will come to fruition.