Who will Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury face next if their fight collapses? Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk waiting in case negotiations fall through

Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury appears to be up in the air as we enter a defining few days in negotiations for the undisputed fight.

Fight contracts were signed last month for the historic heavyweight clash, but this was all contingent on a site deal being secured.

Fans are hoping Hearn can get the deal done
Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Both camps agreed on a reported $150m deal that would take the fight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn insists he is still working to finalise the paperwork and get this over the line.

However, Fury’s US co-promoter Arum said last that, from his perspective, the bout is now ‘dead in the water’ as he believes it will take months to complete the Saudi deal.

Arum added that both men will need to take other fights in the summer against different opponents.

Some conflicting reports have since emerged which claim the paperwork will be finalised this weekend.

In truth, it appears everything is hanging in the balance as we head into a crucial period which will determine whether we see AJ vs Fury this summer.

Arum has no confidence Hearn will be able to pull it off
Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Anthony Joshua’s Alternative Opponent

If Joshua does not fight Fury next, he is almost certain to face Oleksandr Usyk as a mandatory defence instead.

Usyk was first appointed as mandatory challenger by the WBO in mid-2019.

Despite not having even had one win in the division at this point, the Ukrainian was given the position as he was the undisputed champion (and WBO ‘super’ champion) before moving up from cruiserweight.

The mandatory fight was not immediately ordered as the champion at the time – Andy Ruiz Jr – was first was granted an exception for his rematch with AJ.

Usyk was the undisputed champion at cruiserweight and wants to achieve the same at heavyweight

After the Brit won back his belts, the IBF mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev was due.

This was delayed by the pandemic and so Usyk was again made to wait a further year.

Now, he’s been mandatory for close to two years and, if AJ vs Fury happens, will be made to wait even longer.

If it collapses though, Joshua will be ordered to face Usyk and, unless he vacates, this will be his next fight.

Usyk beat Derek Chisora in his first significant test at heavyweight
Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Tyson Fury’s Alternative Opponent

If Fury does not fight Joshua next, a trilogy with Deontay Wilder appears inevitable.

Arum and Fury flew earlier this week to visit the mediator/arbitrator who is ruling over their ongoing legal dispute with Wilder.

When they initially signed for their rematch last year, it was a two-fight deal – meaning the winner would have to oblige the loser with a trilogy bout.

However, towards the end of 2020, Fury’s team announced that – from their perspective – the contract had now expired and so they started negotiating an undisputed fight with Joshua.

Wilder kept hold of the WBC title in his controversial draw with Fury first time around…
…but Fury stopped him and took the belt in their rematch
Getty Images – Getty

Wilder’s team dispute this and have legally challenged it with the two parties awaiting an arbitration ruling.

Mediation previously failed, but it seems Fury’s camp are now restarting talks.

When asked if these discussions could become negotiations for a trilogy bout after all, Arum said: “A switch to negotiation is possible.”

And after saying AJ vs Fury is ‘dead in the water’, Arum told the Mail: “Who else is he going to fight other than Wilder? A third fight between them is huge in its own right.”