Eddie Hearn explains how Anthony Joshua could fight Tyson Fury this year

Eddie Hearn has made a case for Anthony Joshua to fight Tyson Fury in October, if Oleksandr Usyk is unable to compete in a rematch with the “Gypsy King”.

Usyk outpointed Fury in Saudi Arabia on Saturday (18 May), becoming the first undisputed heavyweight champion in 24 years. The Ukrainian and Briton are due for a rematch in October, but Joshua’s promoter has highlighted the potential issue with that plan.

“So much could happen,” Hearn said on Matchroom’s YouTube channel on Monday (20 May). “I’ve seen a lot of people talk about ‘great time for Usyk to retire’. That’s very kind of them, but also there’s a lot of money to be made in a rematch, and it was a good performance from him, so he might be ready for that [rematch].

“He’s been training for a long time. We’re about to hit June. You’d have to start training in August, end of July. It probably gives him five or six weeks off. Tyson Fury said Usyk broke his jaw; I don’t think that’s true, but it was a high-maintenance fight.

“And Fury’s gonna wanna rest. Don’t forget, Fury’s come out of the [Francis] Ngannou fight [in October], gone into camp for the first date [in February]. That was postponed, he got cut, he stayed in camp. He’s trained for a long time.

“I don’t think Tyson Fury is gonna be over the moon with five or six weeks off, but that’s the obligation, there’s a lot of money. Who knows? If Usyk’s injured, can’t make the date, do you make Fury against Joshua – with the winner fighting Usyk? I mean the answer for me is, ‘Yes, please.’

“But it’s down to His Excellency [Turki Al-Sheikh] and the fighters to make the decisions. They have a contracted rematch, but they have to be physically able to make that date, and I guess that’s the next obstacle to overcome.”

Usyk (left) came close to stopping Fury in round nine (Nick Potts/PA Wire)
Usyk (left) came close to stopping Fury in round nine (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Fury and Usyk were first lined up to box each other in December, but the Briton’s difficult night and slim victory over Ngannou changed plans. February was the first official date for the undisputed fight, but Fury suffered a cut over his eye, delaying the bout until May.

When Usyk and Fury finally squared off, Usyk was a split-decision winner, retaining the unified titles and taking Fury’s WBC belt and unbeaten record. Usyk himself stayed undefeated.

Usyk vs Fury 2, if it goes ahead as planned, is unlikely to be for the undisputed titles. The IBF is expected to strip Usyk of its belt, allowing mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic to fight for the gold while Usyk boxes Fury again.

Hrgovic is scheduled to face Daniel Dubois in Saudi Arabia on 1 June. Joshua’s next fight is planned to be against the winner of that match-up, at Wembley in September.

Hearn (left) with Joshua, watching Fury vs Usyk from ringside (Getty Images)
Hearn (left) with Joshua, watching Fury vs Usyk from ringside (Getty Images)

“He’s ready to fight anybody,” Hearn said of Joshua. “He’d love to fight Usyk again, he’d love to fight Tyson Fury, happy to fight Hrgovic, happy to fight Dubois, happy to fight [Joseph] Parker, happy to fight any of them – [Deontay] Wilder.

“You have not got a problem with Anthony Joshua. Anybody who wants it can get it, but at the same time, he wants to try and regain his world heavyweight championship.

“Yeah, potentially [he could fight earlier than September]. He’s ready to go. He was out training all week, he’s gonna go back to Riyadh for [1 June], he’s excited for that one. He’ll be training again out there, he lives in the gym, so we’re ready to go at any moment.”