Joshua vs Fury Fight: Deontay Wilder setback brings Oleksandr Usyk into Equation

Promoter Eddie Hearn is contemplating a "plan B" for Anthony Joshua and says Tyson Fury must explain this week if the two will fight this summer.

Fury, 32, and Joshua, 31, of the United Kingdom, agreed to a heavyweight championship fight on August 14 in Saudi Arabia.

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However, it was decided on Monday that Fury would face American Deontay Wilder for the third time by September 15.

Joshua's promoter, Hearn, said the decision shifted the "fight," saying, "We have to have a plan B in action."

"The one that comes to mind is the WBO obligatory - Oleksandr Usyk," he said.

Hearn informed BBC boxing reporter Mike Costello less than a week ago that he didn't have a backup strategy because he was sure Joshua vs Fury Live Stream would be finalized.

On Sunday, Fury declared that he had agreed to the battle.

Wilder's squad has long claimed contractual access to a third battle with WBC champion Fury, and a US judge has found in their favor in arbitration.

Because of the September deadline, Fury's staff is expected to recommend paying Wilder to stand down, but there are no promises the former world heavyweight champion will agree.

"This agreement has been going on for three to four months, and we were still told this wouldn't be a challenge," Hearn said.

"To say the least, the arbitrator's judgment was odd, but that's their market."

"We can't monitor or participate in that operation." As far as I can see, Fury needs to tackle Joshua. Hopefully, they will settle the problem and we will go on, so it's up to them.

"We have given Fury an incredible chance." We want to know by the end of the week whether we're battling Fury or going on with another choice.

"It's thrilling, it's disappointing, because it's boxing." Let's see if Team Fury will get anything out of the pack with their fighter. I believe he would be upset."

On Tuesday, Fury told the Daily Mail that he was "in the dark" about the situation but was "fit and ready to tackle anyone."

Ukraine's Usyk, who has 18 victories in 18 fights, is the mandatory contender for Joshua's WBO crown.

Joshua was scheduled to defend his WBO, WBA, and IBF titles from Fury in boxing's first heavyweight championship fight for all four recognized world titles.

What will Wilder do?

Hearn has been full of optimism and conviction throughout, but his statement that alternate solutions are worth exploring is especially notable.

Bob Arum, Fury's promoter in the United States, reportedly has Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas booked for July 24 in the event that a Wilder battle is needed.

Can Wilder back down and accept a healthy pay-off? The Saudi government is putting up more than £100 million to stage Joshua-Fury, so there will be plenty of funds to go around.

But why would Wilder's squad go to those lengths just to back down? And would they risk ceding ownership of the heavyweight division to some after fighting to reclaim some of it?

In only 24 hours, we've gone from seeing Joshua-Fury all but pinned down to seeing a heavyweight shambles.




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