Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury cancels his fight with Anthony Joshua after his self-imposed deadline passes; Eddie Hearn says talks are still ongoing.
Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced on Instagram that a self-imposed 5 p.m. Monday deadline in the United Kingdom has passed without Anthony Joshua returning a signed contract for a proposed Dec. 3 fight in Cardiff, Wales, and that he has now pulled the deal.
After the deadline passed, Fury made the announcement in a video posted to his Instagram story, saying: "It's official, fellas. The big day has come and gone. Monday evening has passed 5 p.m. There is no contract in place."
Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) and Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) have been in talks for weeks, but few in the boxing industry believe the talks will result in a deal. After all, Joshua is coming off two losses in a row to Oleksandr Usyk, the most recent coming just a month ago.
Fury's public deadline for a complicated negotiation raised more questions about the seriousness of the talks.
"There were several positive calls today between promoters and broadcasters who are all working hard to finalize the fight," Joshua's promoter, Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn, told ESPN on Monday. "There has been no discussion of a deadline between the parties, but we are moving quickly to try to close the deal."
The sides agreed to a 60-40 split in Fury's favor weeks ago, but several obstacles remained for a fight that was expected to bring in nine figures. For starters, the network problem would have to be resolved. Fury is signed to ESPN in the United States and BT Sport in the United Kingdom, while Joshua is signed to DAZN.
Perhaps the most important issue was how serious both sides were about the fight. After calling off his on-again, off-again retirement, Fury was expected to face Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship. "The Gypsy King" has insisted on fighting before the end of the year, while Usyk has stated that he is recovering from injuries and will not be available until the end of the year.
Fury, who retained his WBC heavyweight title with a sixth-round TKO of Dillian Whyte in April, stated on Instagram that if Joshua does not sign by the deadline, he will fight fringe contender Manuel Charr. Hearn stated last week that he believed Fury was always interested in fighting Charr (33-4, 19 KOs).
A fight with Charr, a 37-year-old German fighter, would be far more appropriate. In theory, Fury could keep himself busy with an easy win while he awaits Usyk and the three belts the Ukrainian boxer offers. A fight between Fury and Charr could take place on Fury's preferred date of December 3 in the United Kingdom.
"You've had the contract for 10 days now," Fury, 34, said in a video directed at Joshua on Instagram. "... Today is the deadline.... I'm not going to extend until tomorrow. I'm not going until tomorrow if it's not signed."
"It's officially over for Joshua — he's now out in the cold," Fury said in his video after the deadline passed.
Joshua, a 32-year-old Englishman, could look for a confidence-boosting victory heading into 2023 now that the fight, which appeared to never happen, appears to be over.