Promoter Warren denies Joshua-Wilder fight talk

Tyson Fury’s promoter Frank Warren has dismissed Anthony Joshua’s claim he has held talks with rival world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder about a fight later this year.

Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), who regained the WBA, IBF and WBO belts from Andy Ruiz Jr. in December, said earlier this week he held discussions with the American’s team about a unification fight later in 2020, rather than Wilder and Fury meeting in a third fight.

But Warren, who co-promotes Fury along with U.S.-based Top Rank, says he was told by Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel there was no truth in Joshua’s comments.

“I spoke to Shelly Finkel yesterday and he denied it,” Warren told ESPN.

“There’s a rematch clause in the contract and the loser has the right to invoke that not long after the fight. That will determine what happens, not what [promoter Eddie] Hearn or Joshua says.

“It seems every time they mention these discussions they never think about the possibility of Tyson winning the fight with Wilder.”

Joshua is being lined up to face Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), 38, the IBF mandatory challenger, in a first defence of his second reign as champion with the WBO also ordering a mandatory defence against Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk,

However, Warren hopes Fury beats Wilder and then fights Joshua for all four world titles.

“I would like to see Tyson in with Joshua straight away after Feb. 22,” Warren said.

“I don’t think it’s a difficult negotiation — we have just seen that with two networks in the U.S. agreeing to work with each other for Wilder-Fury II. The only thing that stops it is all of the ego with Eddie Hearn.

“I don’t see why it should be a problem at all. It’s a fight for the good of the sport that everyone wants to see. As long as Tyson wins his next fight, and Joshua wins his mandatory fight next, it can happen.

“It seems like everyone is looking for reasons why it shouldn’t happen. Nearly every big fight we have got over the line. The only one we didn’t get was Lennox Lewis versus Riddick Bowe.

“Fury and Joshua are at their best, nothing is stopping it from happening except Joshua’s people being afraid of their cash cow being beaten.”

Wilder-Fury II is a joint pay-per-view between Fury broadcaster ESPN and Premier Boxing Champions partner Fox, which also handled Wilder’s Nov. 23 pay-per-view fight, a rematch against Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, while Warren’s television partner BT Sport will show the rematch in the UK.