Heavyweight boxing could have a unified champion for the first time in more than two decades.
Lineal and WBC champion Tyson Fury has agreed in principle to a two-fight deal with Anthony Joshua, the WBO, WBA and IBF champion, in 2021, though no contract has been signed yet.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), who most recently handed Deontay Wilder his first-ever loss in February, is contractually obligated to face the “Bronze Bomber” again, though the date of their trilogy-ending bout remains in doubt due to COVID-19. Joshua’s (23-1, 21 KOs) next bout — against Kubrat Pulev — has also been delayed by the pandemic.
“We have agreed to the basics of the deal, a two-fight deal,” Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, told ESPN.com. “The hardest part is to agree to the financial element of the deal. We have agreed with Tyson Fury and the team, and we can now move forward with finalizing the smaller parts of the deal. The good news for fight fans is that we have agreed to do the two fights and we can now go and dot the I’s and cross the T’s.
“They also have fights in between to make and get through, and that’s another issue.”
While the All-English fight between Fury and Joshua could be one of the highest-grossing affairs in boxing history, Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) — who recorded a draw against Fury in their September bout — could lessen the super-fight’s appeal with his hard-hitting right hand. Fury also has a mandatory title defense against Dillian Whyte, scheduled for early 2021.
“The biggest fight in British boxing (history) has just been agreed,” Fury said in a video posted on Twitter. “One problem, i’ve just gotta smash Deontay Wilder’s face right in the next fight and then we go into the Joshua fight….It’s on for next year.”
Heavyweight boxing hasn’t had a unified champion since Lennox Lewis. The next one could be British, too.
“It’s probably the biggest fight of all time for British sport,” Hearn told ESPN. “There has been nothing to compare it to, and there never will be again.”