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Timeline: How the Fury-Joshua boxing bout reached a dead-end

WBC heavyweight champion Fury says he will not fight Joshua after a self-imposed deadline to sign a contract passed.

fury joshua
Tyson Fury (left) and Anthony Joshua [AP Photo]

World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has said he will not fight Anthony Joshua after a self-imposed deadline to sign a contract for the so-called “Battle of Britain” passed.

Joshua had accepted the unbeaten Fury’s challenge earlier in the month, projected to be one of the greatest heavyweight fights in UK history.

Last week, Joshua’s management team said it had accepted Fury’s terms for the fight, with the verbal agreement heavily favouring the current heavyweight champion with a 60-40 purse split.

However, an official agreement remained elusive and Fury on Friday said that if a deal could not be reached by Monday he would walk away from the bout.

Tyson Fury
Deontay Wilder is knocked down by Tyson Fury during WBC heavyweight championship boxing match at T-Mobile Arena [Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports]

Joshua’s team dismissed the deadline, saying there was “no chance” of an official deal being reached by then while maintaining they still planned to negotiate a contract.

Fury had announced his retirement after defeating Dillian Whyte in April but changed course when he challenged Joshua in early September.

Joshua, a former two-time unified heavyweight champion, suffered a second consecutive defeat to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia last month. Fury had initially hoped to fight Usyk in a title unification match this year, but the Ukrainian said he does not intend to return to the ring until 2023.

Here are this year’s events leading up to Monday’s announcement:

March

A long-discussed fight between Fury and Joshua appeared likely, with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn announcing the duo had signed a two-fight contract.

The first fight was set to take place on August 14, 2021, in Saudi Arabia.

The plans were later dashed due to Fury’s contractual obligation to fight Wilder during that time period. Joshua instead took on Usyk.

September 5

Fury called out Joshua in a video on social media.

“Anthony Joshua, I know you’ve just lost a fight to Usyk, and I know you’re belt-less at the moment, and I’d like to give you an opportunity to fight me for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world and the lineal championship in the next few months,” he said.

“You’re coming off a 12-round fight so you’re match fit, you’re ready, I’m giving you a few months’ notice.

“If you’re interested I’ll send you the date over and we can rumble – a battle of Britain for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world. Let me know if you’re interested. If not, I will select another opponent.”

September 6

Joshua accepted the challenge, telling Fury on Twitter to contact his management if he’s “really about it”.

“I’ll be ready in December,” he wrote on Twitter.

September 7

In an interview with iFL TV, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said the team had accepted Fury’s offer “in essence” before adding there were “lots of conversations to be had”.

He also questioned how serious Fury’s challenge was, noting the fighter’s swift U-turn on retirement.

A tentative date was set for December 17 for the fight to take place in Cardiff, Wales.

Oleksandr Usyk in action against Anthony Joshua
Oleksandr Usyk fights Anthony Joshua in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia [File: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters]

September 23

Fury issued an ultimatum, saying “if it’s not done by Monday, I’m moving on”.

“He is an invited guest at my party, my rules, so if you want to play the game, come to the banquet and take your seat,” he said in a statement.

September 26

Fury confirmed the fight was off, telling his followers on Instagram: “Well guys, it’s official. D-day has come and gone. It’s gone past five o’clock, Monday. No contract has been signed. It’s officially over for Joshua. He is now out in the cold with the wolfpack.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies