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Who will be Anthony Joshua's next opponent?

(via Flickr)

On May 16, Tyson Fury announced via Twitter that he had received confirmation of a possible matchup with Anthony Joshua that would take place on Aug. 14, 2021 in Saudi Arabia.

However, just two days later, Joshua’s team is already figuring out a backup plan if Fury is unavailable.

So, what went wrong in those two days?

Bob Arum, Fury’s American promoter, has expressed doubts about the proposed $155 million deal but appeared optimistic to ESPN about it after Fury’s tweet.

"We still haven't gotten the final contracts -- we're supposed to get a clean draft on Monday," Arum told ESPN.

Despite Fury and Arum’s optimism, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, released a video on Tuesday saying that they were looking at Oleksandr Usyk as a possibility if Fury was unavailable this summer.

Hearn’s video came one day after it was ruled that Fury must give Deontay Wilder a rematch by Sept. 15. If Fury is indeed required to fight Wilder by Sept. 15 it puts Fury’s matchup with Joshua in jeopardy because the short turnaround would be too much for any fighter to handle, let alone a short turnaround against two of the best boxers in the world.

"It would be in an ideal world, if the right deal could be done, to maintain those belts and to keep the Fury fight alive for probably December but for the undisputed [title] as well," Hearn said in his video.

Arum said in a statement to ESPN that paying Wilder to step aside is not their first option, but they are still looking for ways to match Fury up with both Wilder and Joshua in the near future.

However, Hearn is more concerned about actuality than a ‘maybe’.

"We want to be in a position by the end of this week to know if we are fighting Tyson Fury or are we moving forward with another option," Hearn said.

As a fan of boxing, it would be great if these promoters can figure out whatever logistics need to be figured out so that we can enjoy some elite boxing.

I think the most logical move would be for Fury and Joshua both to fight in the summer: Fury vs. Wilder and Joshua vs. Usyk this summer, with Fury vs. Joshua coming in the fall/winter. Now, there is obviously concern that if Joshua or Fury lose their summer fight that the draw for their fall/winter matchup would dwindle. I doubt either will lose, and I guarantee that a Joshua/Fury headline would still be a major PPV draw even if both were coming off losses.

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