Eddie Hearn responds to Deontay Wilder development that puts Fury-Joshua in doubt

“I hope. But hopeful? I don’t know.”

Eddie Hearn has expressed doubt over the prospect of Anthony Joshua taking on Tyson Fury this summer.

Joshua and Fury had been expected to face each other in a highly-anticipated all-British bout in Saudi Arabia in August.

However, on Monday US judge Daniel Weinstein ruled in mediation that Deontay Wilder has a right to face Fury in a trilogy fight before September 15, a ruling that naturally created uncertainty surrounding Joshua v Fury.

Fury beat Wilder in February 2020.

Fury won the WBC world heavyweight crown from Wilder in a rematch in February 2020 after the pair drew their first fight in December 2018.

Now, Hearn – Joshua’s promoter – admits that while he remains hopeful over his man taking on Fury, he is now exploring the possibility of lining up an alternative opponent.

“I hope it does,” Hearn told Matchroom when asked if Joshua v Fury will go ahead. “Like I said, we grafted away for four or five months to make this happen, we have fantastic deal in for a legacy fight. I hope. But hopeful? I don’t know.

“Everything we were told was this arbitration wouldn’t be a problem. Now we have to think on our feet and act accordingly. But really, it is out of our hands.”

Hearn conceded that the Wilder ruling meant “the game changed” and the Matchroom promoter may now line up Oleksandr Usyk as Joshua’s next opponent with the Ukrainian being the Briton’s mandatory challenger for the WBO belt.

“I have been focusing on plan A,” he added.

“We hope that fight can still take place. The game changed last night so we have to have a plan B in place and a plan C. One that springs to mind is the WBO mandatory with Oleksandr Usyk.

“They have been patient and we are in a situation if team Fury doesn’t get its act together by end of the week we have no alternative.”

On Monday, Top Rank founder Bob Arum told ESPN that Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas has been reserved for a Fury-Wilder trilogy bout on July 24.

“We’re not paying Wilder to step aside,” said Arum. “It’s better to get rid of him and go about our business. We can make the Fury-Joshua fight for November or December.”

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