WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has cast his highly-anticipated fight with Anthony Joshua into fresh doubt after revealing it is no closer to being finalised.
The bout against Joshua, holder of the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, has been touted for months, with both parties keen to make the megafight happen.
Sportsmail reported earlier this month that the first draft of contracts for the fight had been exchanged between the two parties, with only minor issues left to resolve, such as the order of ring walks and who appears first on the fight’s billing.
But the added complication of the coronavirus pandemic has made negotiations even more difficult, and they are not as advanced as they would appear, according to Fury.
‘They’ve had a full year to make something happen, and it hasn’t happened as of yet. We’re no further forward today than we were a year ago,’ he told ESPN.
‘The way (Covid-19) is at the moment, I don’t think (it has) got much to do with the fighters. It’s to do with the venue, date, place, site fees. It’s to do with everything but the fight itself.’
Even if the fight does get arranged for 2021 Fury admits his long period of inactivity is a cause for concern.
Fury’s last fight against Deontay Wilder was a year ago this week, and a second rematch for December did not happen.
The Gypsy King’s much-changed physique was on display this month, with a video of the 32-year-old swimming in Morecambe Bay appearing to show him some way off peak physical form.
Meanwhile, Joshua did make it into the ring towards the back end of 2020, easily dispatching Kubrat Pulev in December to retain his heavyweight titles.
And Fury admits it is something his opponent-in-waiting has over him.
‘It was just a big mess-up. I should have boxed, because I’ve been so inactive. I’ve been out for over a year,’ he added.
‘By the time I fight again, looking at maybe June if this Joshua fight happens, that will be a year and six months out of the ring, which is not ideal preparation for any superfight.
‘If that fight doesn’t happen this summer, it’s got to happen sooner or later but (promoter) Top Rank has to give me two fights this year.
‘I don’t care who it is. If it’s not Joshua, we’re looking to fight in April or early May, and the end of the year.