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Hearn ‘ready to conclude a deal’ for December fight between Joshua and Fury

Joshua faces Pulev on June 20 and Hearn expects Fury’s third fight with Wilder to be on July 18.

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Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are the heavyweight champions of the world (Nick Potts/Lionel Hahn/PA)

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are the heavyweight champions of the world (Nick Potts/Lionel Hahn/PA)

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are the heavyweight champions of the world (Nick Potts/Lionel Hahn/PA)

Eddie Hearn has revealed he is “ready to conclude a deal” for a December showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury to determine the undisputed world heavyweight champion.

Fury wrenching the WBC title from Deontay Wilder in a spectacular display last month means he and fellow Briton Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO champion, hold all four of the major belts in boxing’s blue riband division.

Clamour for a bout between the pair has been building but Joshua will first take on IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on June 20 while Fury is likely to settle a contractual obligation to rematch Wilder the following month.

Myself and Bob Arum (Fury's promoter) have been talking to a point where we're ready to conclude a deal and try to move forward to get that deal done for DecemberEddie Hearn on a Joshua v Fury fight

However, Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, has divulged that talks with Fury’s handlers are progressing smoothly for a blockbuster fight this winter – provided both combatants come through their summer tests.

Hearn told the PA news agency: “Myself and Bob Arum (Fury’s promoter) have been talking to a point where we’re ready to conclude a deal and try to move forward to get that deal done for December.

“There’s no reason why we can’t put that deal in place now for the winner of those two fights.

“We’re going to fight on June 20, they’re going to fight, I believe, on July 18. That leaves plenty of time for a December fight.

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua – Press Conference – Riyadh
Eddie Hearn says an all-British heavyweight unification fight is a once-in-a-lifetime event (Nick Potts/PA)

“We’ve just got to iron out some basic things like broadcasters and where the fight is going to take place. But I believe there’s a real desire from both sides to get that fight done now. December would be perfect.

“To have two British heavyweight champions is unbelievable but to have them fighting for the undisputed championship is something that will never, ever happen in our lifetime again.

“So we’ve got to make it happen, let’s get the deal made now and let’s let those guys concentrate on their big fights in the summer.”

Wales v South Africa – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium is among the front-runners to stage the bout (Mike Egerton/PA)

The Principality Stadium in Cardiff as well as Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia remain the front-runners to stage the fight.

But Hearn is optimistic of more than one meeting between the pair and is confident that they will cross paths in the United Kingdom at some point.

He said: “This fight is probably going to happen two, maybe three times. We’re going to get it in the UK, it’s just whether one, two or three.

“December limits us in the UK, it just really leaves us with the (Principality Stadium), so we’re going to look at all options but first thing’s first, let’s get the deal papered and know exactly where we stand.”

Joshua got his career back on track last December when he outpointed Andy Ruiz in their rematch, having been savagely stopped by the Mexican-American in their original outing six months earlier.

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He eschewed his usual aggressive style by adopting a more cautious game-plan in the return bout, comfortably keeping his foe at bay by boxing on the back foot, but his tactics earned as much criticism as they did praise.

Hearn believes Joshua may revert to his more dynamic style when he next steps into the ring at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but insists his only focus should be on winning against Pulev, who has won his last eight fights since being knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko in November 2014 – the only blemish in his professional career.

“With everything that’s on the line with the Fury fight, the win will do,” Hearn said. “But I think he will want to go in there and make a statement against Kubrat Pulev. I think Pulev will be looking to take chances.

“He’s got to be disciplined against Kubrat Pulev but I think you’re going to see a different performance than the Andy Ruiz II fight where he obviously had his entire career on the line.

“Pulev is a good fighter; big, tall strong, good puncher. He’s a stand-up heavyweight like Joshua and you’re going to see a really good, technical fight early on but I think you’re going to see the old Joshua come out and you’ll see a great knockout.”

PA