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Anthony Joshua has mocked Tyson Fury after jokingly claiming he plans to set up a GoFundMe page to give Deontay Wilder $20million of step-aside money so his superfight with the Gypsy King can take place.
It will be a year in June since it was first claimed that the heavyweight unification fight between Joshua and Fury had been agreed.
But fans are still waiting for one of the biggest fights in British boxing history to take place and now there are serious doubts whether the pair will meet next.
After months of claims that the deal was ‘done’ and that almost everything had been agreed, the proposed fight was dealt a devastating blow on Monday when a US judge ruled in mediation that Wilder has a right to face Fury for a third time before September 15.
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The American former heavyweight champion of the world has long claimed he had a contractual right to take on WBC belt holder Fury for the third time, following the Manchester fighter’s seventh-round knockout win in February 2020.
The pair had been due to meet again in July last year but the Coronavirus pandemic forced a cancellation and Wilder wanted the bout switched to this year.
But by that point, Fury’s team, which includes legendary promoter Bob Arum, and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had turned all their focus on a superfight which would have seen the victor become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 2000.
As recently as Sunday, Fury had claimed the fight in Saudi Arabia on August 14 was definitely going ahead after a call with Saudi defense secretary Prince Khalid Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Tyson Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder in February 2020
(Image: Getty Images)
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But 24 hours later, the plans were in disarray.
Fury claimed: “What a joke Deontay Wilder has become, asked for $20million to move over. Joker. Looks like I have to crack his skull again.”
This prompted an angry – yet somewhat amusing – response from Watford's Joshua on his Snapchat account.
Joshua, who is the WBA, WBO and IBF champ, said: “I’m thinking about starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for Wilder’s step-aside payment.
“So I can smoke that fat guy with skinny legs from Manchester.
“These heavyweights need a podcast or something, they do more talking than fighting.”
Joshua’s friend and WBO world cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie reposted it on his Instagram story with the caption: “Yo, Anthony Joshua actually finished me with this one.”
WBO world cruiserweight world champion Lawrence Okolie shared Anthony Joshua's Snapchat post on his Instagram page
However, Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott insists his fighter is not interested in moving aside to facilitate the Joshua-Fury fight.
Scott stated: “Wilder declined and had no interest in step-aside money. Y’all dealing with a whole different type motherf***er over here.
“He wants the blood, not that step-aside money. Retribution is upon us.’”
Joshua’s promoter Hearn, of Matchroom, has been extremely confident the fight with Fury would be taking place, claiming recently there was no plan B.
But if the Fury contest cannot happen, then it seems likely that Joshua will fight Ukraine's former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who is the mandatory challenger for the WBO title.
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(Image: Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)
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"This negotiation has been going on for three or four months and we were always assured this wouldn't be a problem," Hearn told the BBC.
"It was a very strange decision from the arbitrator to say the least, but that's their business.
"We can't control that or be involved with that process. As far as I understand it, Fury wants to fight Joshua. Hopefully they can resolve the issue and we move forward but over to them.
"We have provided an unbelievable opportunity to Fury. We want to be in a position by the end of the week to know are we fighting Fury or moving forward with another option?
"It's exciting, it's disappointing and it's boxing. Let's see if Team Fury can pull something out of the bag for their fighter. I think he will be disappointed."