Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua Agree to Most Anticipated Heavyweight Fight in Years

After years of circling each other, the two British boxers have agreed to square off twice in 2021

Tyson Fury knocks out Deontay Wilder
Having dispatched Deontay Wilder last winter, Tyson Fury plans to fight Anthony Joshua in 2021.
Getty Images

Mere months removed from clobbering Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury has set his sights on possibly becoming boxing’s first unified heavyweight champion in more than 20 years. According to promoter Eddie Hearn, Fury and Anthony Joshua, another rival British heavyweight belt-holder, “have agreed to the basics” to fight twice in 2021.

“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.”

The details of the contract are still fuzzy: the purse, date and location are still up in the air, and both boxers still have mandatory title-defense bouts before they can square off. Nevertheless, this is an undeniable boon for the sport, which has long been desperate for a star — or at least a star that’s neither a fascism apologist nor a serial domestic abuser who possibly can’t read a page of Harry Potter aloud.

Fortunately, a Fury-Joshua bout would be overripe with intrigue. Beyond the byzantine title implications, Fury and Joshua are two of the most celebrated British heavyweights ever, positioning the fight as a generationally important event in the UK. Longtime frenemies, the pair are diametric opposites outside of the ring. The 6’7 Fury has a singular devotion to getting weird, liable to binge on cocaine and “$30 hookers” or pioneer the hottest sex maneuver of 2020: licking your enemy’s neck and lapping up the blood from his ruptured ear drum. In contrast, Joshua is studied in the Derek Jeter school of pleasant nullity and has been accused of being fake as a result. Fury is built like he wears a shirt in the pool; Joshua is so muscular you’d think he’s perpetually airbrushed. Fury sparked outrage because he compared homosexuality to pedophilia and said that Jewish people are trying to brainwash society; Joshua angered people because he believes that Black lives matter and supports Black-owned businesses.

Even with the fight at least a year away, hype is already building in Vegas, where Fury opened as a -200 betting favorite. Joshua, coming off a string of uninspiring performances, is the underdog at +180.

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