Who will Joshua and Fury face if superfight doesn’t happen?

Boxing fans are still awaiting official confirmation that Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will face off this summer.

Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum told the Telegraph that he believed the bout was “dead in the water“.

However, the 32-year-old’s co-promoter Frank Warren later confirmed last week that Fury’s camp had received a fight contract, and are reviewing the proposal.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said earlier in April that a site deal had been approved by both fighters.

Although the latter two points are certainly more encouraging, the overall state of play still isn’t completely clear.

If the highly-anticipated fight between the two heavyweight champions of the world doesn’t happen this summer, who could both fighters take on instead?

Joshua’s potential opponents

One of the obvious candidates to potentially take on Joshua is WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua has defended his titles against Andy Ruiz Jr. and Kubrat Pulev in the time that the Ukrainian has been mandatory challenger.

The Fury fight looked set to delay his chances even further. However, if that fight is put back for the time being, Joshua’s next defence would almost certainly be against the 34-year-old.

Eddie Hearn said back in November of last year – prior to the Pulev fight – that Joshua would fight Usyk as WBO mandatory challenger during 2021.

He explained: “Our absolute focus is, as long as AJ defeats Pulev next, is to fight Tyson Fury twice in 2021.

“If that’s not possible then we would look at his WBO mandatory challenger, which is Usyk.”

Joshua could also take on Andy Ruiz Jr, with the Mexican-American saying that the pair have “unfinished business” after their previous two fights.

Ruiz Jr won the first of those fights in one of boxing’s biggest shocks of recent times, before Joshua regained his titles in the rematch in December 2019. Victory over Chris Arreola at the weekend marked a successful comeback to the ring for Ruiz, standing him in good stead for whatever comes next.

Fury’s potential opponents

Fury told ESPN in March that he will fight twice this year, irrespective of who the opponent is.

One of the options could be to take on Deontay Wilder in a trilogy fight, after Fury won the second fight via technical knockout last February in Las Vegas.

They were originally due to face off again last year, although that date was postponed and later cancelled.

It emerged that Wilder and Fury’s camp were engaging in mediation over the contract for their proposed trilogy bout, although World Boxing News revealed at the beginning of this month that no conclusion had yet been reached.

However, Arum’s recent comments have raised hope that the fight may be back on the table if Fury’s proposed bout against Joshua falls through.

He told Boxing Scene: “Maybe we’ll breathe some life into Wilder, and Fury will fight Wilder and Joshua will fight Usyk.”

If Fury was to take on Wilder, it would be the first time either fighter has stepped into the ring since their Las Vegas fight.

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