Barry Hearn believes the long-awaited heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury could take place at the end of next year.
Negotiations over a fight broke down in October, with Fury instead defending his WBC title against Derek Chisora a fortnight ago, and the 34-year-old previously said it would be a “travesty” if he did not share a ring with Joshua before they hang up their gloves.
A unification bout against Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA belts after back-to-back victories over Joshua, is next on the agenda for Fury, but Hearn believes a blockbuster fight with Joshua could follow.
The head of Matchroom told Sky Sports News: “Anthony is in the States at the moment trying out some new trainers and getting his head right. He wants to be active in 2023.
“I think Dillian [Whyte] is on the list. There’s a few other names – Deontay Wilder might be there, Otto Wallin. It’s his call.
“He is at a crossroads in his career. He can’t afford another loss.
“We’re going to see a very interesting 2023 across the whole heavyweight division. Joe Joyce is up there, ‘The Juggernaut’ is a handful. Daniel Dubois is coming back.
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“Obviously Tyson Fury is the No 1 in the world. He’s going to take all the beating, but I think he is quite close to getting the Usyk fight signed off. That’s a hell of a good fight, and a dangerous one.
“I think Usyk is the No 1 heavyweight in the world. Tyson will disagree with me. Let’s go and see.
“The fight we all want to see eventually is AJ against Fury. You’ll get stories, Tyson will say the fight is never going to happen, Joshua will say he’d rather fight Dillian White. Forget all of that.
“This fight has to happen, and I think it does happen at the tail-end of 2023, for all the marbles.”
Joyce expects Fury or Usyk summer showdown
Joyce is gunning for a summer showdown with either Fury or Usyk next year.
Fury and Usyk are expected to fight for the undisputed heavyweight title early in 2023, with Joyce anticipating a bout with the winner.
Although Daniel Dubois, the mandatory for Usyk’s WBA belt, should be due to get his challenge in before Joyce, he has an injury to recover from and might not be ready for a major fight until later in the year.
Joyce himself intends to take a warm-up in March, to prepare him for a stadium fight with the Fury-Usyk winner later in the year.
“I’m planning to have a fight in March, while all the others are taking a fight,” Joyce told Sky Sports.
“For the summer one [I plan to] go for a big one, like Usyk or Fury. I’ll be ready because I’ll have had one at the beginning of the year to get me going.”
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