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01st May 2017

Eddie Hearn has terrible news for fans hoping to see Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury next

Fury won't like this one bit

Darragh Murphy

Anthony Joshua’s next fight will not be the monster all-British heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury.

That’s the official word from promoter Eddie Hearn, who insists that Fury is simply too far away from fitness to be in the running for Joshua’s next fight.

All signs pointed towards Fury, with Joshua even issuing an uncharacteristic call-out of the controversial heavyweight in the immediate aftermath of his 11th round TKO victory over Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday.

Joshua clearly realised that the biggest fight on the table would be opposite Fury, who accepted the challenge immediately and is believed to be in the midst of a training camp as he aims to shed the considerable weight he gained in his time away from the ring.

Fury revealed that he’d ballooned up to 350lbs since his last outing, a unanimous decision victory over Klitschko in 2015, but insisted that he had re-dedicated himself to his sport.

It should be noted that Fury remains without a boxing licence, with a British Boxing Board of Control hearing set for next week to decide whether he will be allowed to compete again.

But regardless of whether or not his licence is returned, Fury will not be next up for Joshua and the fascinating match-up could actually be some years away, according to Hearn.

“We are desperate for that fight because AJ thinks he wins comfortably, it is a great fight and it is the biggest fight out there,” Hearn told talkSPORT. “But we can only concentrate on AJ’s career and guiding him.

“He [Fury] is miles away from fighting. He is in a terrible physical way at the moment. He doesn’t have a licence, he needs to go back to the board, and he is under investigation for a failed [doping] test.

“There is no one that wants to see him back more than me, but it is miles away. He is not the next fight because he won’t be ready in time.”

Fury won’t welcome that update as he had previously insisted that he would be ready for Joshua next and would not require a tune-up fight in the meantime.

If it’s not to be Joshua vs. Fury, it looks like it will be a toss-up between WBC champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champion Joseph Parker in terms of who we can expect to share the ring with ‘AJ’ next.

Wilder is likely the favourite in that regard but we should not expect to see Joshua back in action too soon as Hearn insists that the 27-year-old is now going to reduce his activity significantly and will fight just twice a year, having amassed his 19-0 record in less than four years.

“It is so big for the sport and massive for him,” Hearn added.

“I think he becomes the biggest sports star in Britain now. It is only the beginning.

“He wants another eight to ten years in the sport and it almost feels like he has had that legacy-defining fight on Saturday, but there is such a long way to go.

“We are only going to box twice a year now because the fights are so huge and the camps are so long.

“It is the world heavyweight championship. It is not the British heavyweight championship. We have got a chance here to keep these events huge in Britain, which we want to do, but we also want to break new boundaries.

“We want to go into new markets and dominate those markets with him. That includes America, the Far East, the Middle East and Africa as well. You will see him box in those territories over time.”