Did Tyson Fury Tank The Anthony Joshua Fight?

Last week’s undisputed junior welterweight title fight between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez lived up to expectations and revealed more than intended for the heavyweight division.

Taylor remained undefeated and did enough to pick up the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas unanimous decision, winning 114-112 on all three scorecards.

However, WBC and The Ring heavyweight champion Tyson Fury stole the color commentator table show, revealing that he had signed his contract to face Deontay Wilder.

The fight will be on July 24, according to sources. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will host the bout, according to Fury co-promoter Frank Warren.

“It’s going to be set up for around 35,000 to 40,000 people and it’ll be one of the first big events since Vegas has been back reopened.”

Fury will receive 60% of the purse to 40% for Wilder, according to reports.

The deal came after an independent arbitrator ruled Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) legally obligated for a trilogy fight with Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs).

Reportedly, talks were limited regarding a potential “step-aside” fee to Wilder to make Fury-Joshua possible. According to Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, Tyson didn’t bring the Fury to save the undisputed heavyweight bout planned for Saudia Arabia this summer.

“Team Fury made absolutely zero attempt to try and save the Anthony Joshua fight. Zero attempt,” Hearn told IFL TV. “I don’t believe there was even a conversation; I don’t believe there was an offer, I don’t believe anything. This is another reason why the whole thing stinks. [Fury’s co-promoter] Bob Arum [of Top Rank] is aware of the work that has gone in to make this fight. And to just call up and say, ‘I can’t believe it, it’s preposterous… and we’re just going to go ahead with the Wilder fight, so cheers mate, thanks for everything, and we’ll catch up; soon.’

“If this was me in that case, I would have done absolutely everything I could to save this fight, they didn’t try one thing. That also sits on Tyson Fury because he didn’t try and do one thing either. There’s nothing I can do about it because, as I said leading up to this fight, the only thing I can’t control is their team. But where are your bollocks, Tyson Fury? If you really wanted this AJ fight, you have not said anything negative about this situation.

“You have not said how disappointed you are, you have not looked at your promoters – who clearly could have terminated this contract a long time ago – and gone, ‘What have you done? You’ve not only cost me fifty or sixty million dollars, you’ve cost me the biggest fight of all time, the undisputed fight because you’ve dropped the ball. And if you haven’t dropped the ball, why are you not fighting this and trying to come up with a Plan B.’ I’ve not seen one thing from Tyson Fury, where he’s saying – ‘I’m devastated, I can’t believe this, we had a deal in place, I was happy, guys I’m sorry.'”

Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, offered a different take in his blog.

“The decision was to get this Wilder fight out of the way. Unfortunately, we were getting close to doing the Joshua fight, but it all fell apart because of the arbitration ruling.

“It’s not fair to say the other side didn’t know this was going on. Everyone knew about this. That’s why I never announced it was on; it’s something I’ve been very conscious of. The bottom line is Tyson must get this out of the way. He can’t be complacent, and I don’t think he will be. He’s been training regularly and training hard, so now he’s got to be focused and get his obligation out of the way.

“Tyson’s relieved to have a fight date, but he’s p***** off it’s not Joshua! At least all the uncertainty appears to be out of the way now – let’s just get on with it.”

Tyson Fury is a fighter, and it is clear all he wants to do is get in the Ring. It is Wilder, and not Joshua is probably inconsequential to him, so losing the colossal fight lies solely on the promoters.

All of them. Fighters should not directly promote their fights for a reason. It is why Floyd Mayweather has Leonard Ellerbe for Mayweather Promotions; none-emptional decision-making.

However, the silver lining is that Deontay Wilder gets one more chance to prove himself, and we all know he has a game opponent.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.