Tyson Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum has questioned Anthony Joshua’s side’s desire to challenge for the all-British world title, but Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has insisted negotiations were in progress.
Undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Fury has set his sights on a clash with compatriot Joshua after a potential unification showdown with WBO, WBA and IBF titleholder Oleksandr Usyk was pushed back to next year.
But Fury’s US promoter Arum has expressed doubts whether Joshua’s team will finalize a WBC title fight.
“I really don’t think Joshua’s people are eager to fight now,” Arum said. “Because he suffered a devastating loss and I think, conventionally, Joshua is going to want a few soft touches to get things back on track.
“Our guy, Tyson Fury, wants to fight this year. I’ve been trying to see if we can get Usyk this year and apparently they don’t want to do it until February.
“We’re going to try to find an opponent for Tyson Fury – Joshua or somebody else – and make sure he gets in the ring this year.
“Eddie Hearn just talks. Eddie Hearn, if he wanted to make the fight, he knows me pretty well and knows I’m here – he knows the Warrens. We haven’t really heard of Eddie Hearn; he is really good at making statements to the press and on TV, but he’s in no – I don’t think – rush to make this fight.”
Arum added: “I’ve been in boxing for a long time and the fact that Eddie and Joshua would want this fight is, to me, incomprehensible. It just doesn’t make sense.
“If I’m wrong and they decide they want it, they know where to find us and call us, and stop talking to the press and talk to us and see if we can put it together.”
But Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports: “I’m not quite sure what Bob Arum talked about but I’ve had several phone calls with George Warren and email exchanges. The last one was about a few minutes ago.
“AJ just finished his fight with Usyk. He has a few bumps and bruises, nothing major.
“[Frank Warren’s promotional company] Queensberry’s date is December 17, and that’s our favorite date to fight.
“We are in ongoing discussions with Queensberry and I assume you will be watching it all unfold on social media and various media around the world.”
Fury ruled out the December 17 fight date, while issuing a new challenge to Joshua on social media.
“AJ, I haven’t heard of you at all,” Fury said.
“Just to clarify, there’s never been a fixture on December 17, ever. It’s only ever been November 26 at Wembley or December 3 at Cardiff.
“There was never an appointment on the 17th.
“This is it now AJ, Eddie, fear not now. Accept the fight and let’s give the fans what they want.
“I gave you an incredible offer and an incredible opportunity, so let’s go. Go ahead. Show the time.
“And AJ, if you really wanted this fight, you’d say you wanted it, and you would. November 26th, December 3rd, let’s give the fans what they want. No way out, fights.”
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Bob Arum: Anthony Joshua’s team can’t wait to make Tyson Fury world title fight