Negotiations for Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury are set to take another significant step, with promoter Eddie Hearn ready to send out a formal contract for the undisputed world title fight.
Unified champion Joshua and WBC title holder Fury agreed terms in principle on a two-fight deal in June, with both promotional teams still eager to finalise two blockbuster heavyweight battles in 2021.
Joshua’s promoter Hearn has been in regular contact with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who guides Fury’s career in America, and there is optimism that further terms can be circulated for discussion.
“Yeah, I’ve been talking to Bob Arum about various things,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “Fury against Joshua is a big ambition of everybody involved, to be honest.
“We want to talk about it, but we also want to take care of business, which is Kubrat Pulev for AJ, and Deontay Wilder for Tyson Fury.
“I’m very sure you’re going to see two versions of that fight in 2021. I think we’re on the verge now of papering that deal with Bob Arum. We haven’t done it yet, but all the conversations are positive.
“We have a lot on our plates with the pandemic, making sure we keep boxing alive and trying to deliver those fights for AJ and Fury, but I think 2021, I’m very sure you’ll see those two fights.”
Top Rank president Todd duBoef told Sky Sports this week that a fight between Fury and Joshua for all the major world titles remains a top priority.
“There is a gravitation to bring the titles together, and that would be Joshua and Fury,” said DuBoef. “Obviously we would have loved to do that before the end of this year, but for the pandemic.
“I don’t think anybody is wavering from that objective.
“Both guys have great personalities, they can fight, and it is overdue. Let’s get it done.”
Joshua’s next defence of his WBA, WBO and IBF belts will be against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on December 12, while Tyson Fury is expected to fulfil his third contracted fight against Deontay Wilder on December 19.
The unbeaten Fury produced a dominant stoppage win over Wilder in February to start his second reign as a world champion, but Joshua has previously told Sky Sports that he relishes a fight with his fellow Brit.
Joshua has said: “I haven’t got fear of Fury – whether he’s got a better chin than me, a better jab than me, whether he’s all of this stuff that people say. So be it. Let me go in there and prove myself. Show you who I am and what I can do.
“I’ve fought five champions and been in two unification fights. I’m a two-time heavyweight champion in the space of 24 fights and a six-year career. It shows you I am serious.
“If Fury is serious, I’ll take that fight seriously too.”
But Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO mandatory challenger, could complicate the schedule for the Joshua-Fury fights if he enforces a title shot next year.
The Ukrainian star is still holding talks about firstly facing Derek Chisora on a potential date of October 31.
“For sure, yes he’s not stepping aside,” said Hearn. “He wants the fight – the winner of Joshua against Pulev for the WBO world title.
“Maybe Mr Chisora puts a spanner in the works like Alexander Povetkin did. Anything could happen.
“Usyk believes he could go out, get a good win under his belt in the heavyweight division and then move on to challenge for a world title in 2021.”