JEFF POWELL: It’s been a terrible day for boxing… Fury and Joshua have been called out after sinking to disgraceful depths, while the pursuit of Benn and Eubank is all about money
- A deep day for boxing began with the deaths of Fury and Joshua
- The possible fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua has been officially canceled
- After that, the horrific drug scene led to the revocation of another permit
- Conor Benn’s positive drugs test sees his clash with Chris Eubank Jr likely called off
A day of deep chaos for boxing began with the biggest domestic fight in British ring annals – the eternal world title clash between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua – officially declared dead.
The dreaded drug beast then left the British Boxing Board of Control feeling they had no choice but to revoke Chris Eubank and Conor Benn’s permission to go ahead with Saturday Night Fights for their fathers and their history.
The boxing community sighed in frustration. The community as a whole went silent in disgust. Fury v Joshua has sunk to the infamous depths where the small print of business contracts count more than a world title.
A deep day for boxing began with the biggest fight in the British heavyweight division – the world championship clash between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua – officially declared dead.
There are allegations that promoter Eddie Hearn (left) and Joshua (right) have stopped the deal.
It is drawn through a complex web of corporate transactions in which a potential competitor is locked up.
There are allegations that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been dragging his feet in trying to untangle this quagmire to protect his Matchroom company’s poster boy from a possible fourth defeat in his last six fights, which would significantly reduce his market value.
This is less relevant. The devil is in the legal details of Joshua’s sponsorships and endorsements, including Jaguar, Under Armour, Hugo Boss, JD Sports, Lynx, ticket brokers StubHub, Audemar Piguet luxury watches and television streaming network DAZN.
Hearn said when he spoke about Fury’s generous offer of a title challenge despite Joshua’s two consecutive defeats to Ukrainian champion Oleksandr Usyk: “It’s not that easy anymore for fighters to sign to split the purse. AJ can find himself in trouble.” contract with the details of their business transactions.’
Joshua is believed to be the A-side of his fights, but after losing his world titles to Oleksandr Usyk in three defeats in five fights, that no longer holds true against the King of Gypsies.
Conor Benn (right) and Chris Eubank Jr (left) were then thrown into chaos by Benn’s positive drug test, with the British Boxing Board of Control now refusing to sanction the O2 Arena fight.
One is Joshua’s partnership with Beats. Exactly how horrified the boxing community will be to lose Fury and Joshua due to their business dealings with headset vendors, we’re sure to find out soon enough.
The mood should lighten when Joshua’s replacement is unveiled on December 3 as Derek Chisora. It’s a trilogy few if any fans could dream of seeing.
The damage to boxing – just at a time when the toughest sport is enjoying a massive resurgence of interest in this country – is incalculable and partly inexcusable.
It will likely have a significant impact on Joshua’s carefully crafted image. Because Fury can’t reasonably be accused of pulling out, given his repeated and aggressive calls for Joshua to step up to the plate.
Frank Warren, Fury’s top promoter, says: “Does Joshua or anyone on his team think he’s still the biggest name out there. We’ve always wanted this fight. Have they? Really?’
Bob Arum, Fury’s American promotional partner, is more specific: “Eddie Hearn would move heaven and earth to stop this negotiation until we run out of time and the fight ends in the water. He knows his prize money will be knocked out by Fury and he loses his cash cow.’
“It made us uncertain about their intentions,” Hearn says. “We knew they were going to mess with us and we had to have a retreat position,” Warren says.
Joshua was probably wiser to risk landing a punch to Fury that could change everything in heavyweight boxing, or to be saluted on his shield at the end of a talented display.
He may regret not signing on the dotted line and worry about the fine print later. Not the least of which is that public optics about which of them turned down this mega fight is not skewed in his favor.
Benn’s positive testosterone test is a darker and more complicated matter. He protests that he is innocent, and we must hope that he is. But when it comes to drugs in sports, the dirt sticks, fair or not.
Money has always talked in boxing, and the tens of millions in Eubank v Benn — no less than seven-figure purses for the fighters — will have a heavy impact on efforts to get the fight back.
What we now know for sure is that at the highest level the most difficult game is controlled by financial moguls down to the smallest detail.
This is the losing side after a terrible day for boxing.