Why the Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury cancellation is good for boxing

After months of negotiations, the Fury/AJ unification is off *for now*, but this news is not necessarily all bad…

Understandably, boxing fans are feeling very disgruntled at the moment.

This has only been heightened by the events in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Scotland's Josh Taylor knocked down Jose Ramirez twice en route to becoming the new undisputed world light-welterweight champion.

This was a mammoth occasion for not just Taylor, but for British boxing as a whole. Despite this, no UK TV provider broadcasted the event, and instead, was picked up by FITE TV.

In addition to this, Sky Sports recently announced that they will show the exhibition bout between Floyd Mayweather and YouTuber Logan Paul live on pay-per-view (£16.95).

This has added to the frustration of boxing's core fanbase after the all-British unification fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua fell through.

Both sides had been negotiating for months but it finally appeared to be agreed for August 14 in Saudi Arabia.

It took just two days for everything to apart, though. This came as Deontay Wilder won his arbitration case which ruled that his trilogy fight with Fury must happen next.

This news caused uproar in the boxing world. But here at Planet Boxing, we try to look at things positively, so here's why the arbitration ruling could be a blessing for the sport…

'Third wheel' Wilder is out for revenge

It is now 15 months since Wilder and Fury had their rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in February 2020.

After what was a stellar first fight, there was a lot of excitement surrounding the rematch.

In the build-up, Fury promised that he would meet Wilder at centre ring to establish his dominance. He did just that, putting in the performance of his career as he bullied the undefeated American.

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Fury had Wilder down twice before the bout was stopped in the seventh. Excuse after excuse came pouring in from The Bronze Bomber in the aftermath.

Eventually Wilder vanished from the public eye and questions loomed whether he would ever return to boxing.

But in the lead-up to last week's court ruling, Wilder re-emerged and was in training ahead of a comeback. He has parted ways with Mark Breland and replaced him with Malik Scott, who was stopped by Wilder inside the first round in 2014.

In the past, Wilder relied on his ferocious punch power to win him a world title. Doubts surrounding his skills as a boxer were present before Fury exposed him last year.

If Wilder can sharpen up his boxing skills alongside Scott, that will stand him in good stead for the third fight.

Given the manner of Fury's victory in Las Vegas, the Brit will be a resounding favourite for their trilogy bout on July 24.

While you can rightly slate Wilder for his boxing ability, his power will always make him a threat for any heavyweight.

Fury is the only man not to be stopped out of Wilder's 42 opponents. Even then, the Gypsy King was floored late into their first fight. It took a remarkable Undertaker-like rise from Fury to stay in the fight.

The Brit will be supremely confident ahead of this fight. But he is not stupid and he knows more than most how troublesome Wilder is.

The anticipation for this fight is not as big as it once was, but this does not mean that it will be any less entertaining than their previous outings.

You would expect Fury to get past Wilder again, but a sure-fire fight of the year contender is inbound. 

"ANTHONYYY, I'M COMING FOR YOU!"

It is a bit more unclear who Joshua will fight next. But as Eddie Hearn confirmed via IFL TV, his most likely next opponent is his WBO mandatory, Oleksandr Usyk.

In 2018, the Ukrainian became the first-ever unified world cruiserweight champion during the four-belt era.

The 34-year-old vacated his belts after he stopped Tony Bellew in devastating fashion at the Manchester Arena.

'The Cat' has since stepped up to heavyweight and so far, he has beaten Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora.

Usyk has long been touted as a challenger for Joshua. This will be a big step up from his previous opponents at heavyweight, but he showed at cruiserweight that he has the talent to become a big player in a red-hot division.

Joshua vs Usyk really is a fascinating mix of styles. While the Ukrainian is more technically gifted than AJ, there are still doubts surrounding him at heavyweight.

Most of these discussions surround his size and this could cause him problems against Joshua. Going off their respective last fights, Usyk will be around 25lbs lighter than the Brit.

Barring Fury, Olek is the best pure boxer in the division at the moment. To beat him, Joshua would have to establish his jab early on to prevent Usyk from growing into the fight as he often does.

An AJ performance of a similar ilk as against Kubrat Pulev and Andy Ruiz Jr II is needed to get the better of his tricky mandatory.

AJ and Usyk's mix of styles should make for a captivating chess match, as both also have the power to topple the other.

Like Fury, you would fancy Joshua to come out on top in the middle to late rounds. Yet Wilder and Usyk stand as clear banana skins that could hamper the British duo's quest to unify. Speaking of the unification, when will that be?

Fury vs Joshua in December *hopefully*

While Fury vs Wilder is signed and sealed to take place in July, there is still work to do for AJ to secure his fight. August has been mentioned as the date for Joshua's next defence.

If this is the case, the targeted December date for the unification may be too soon. As we have all seen, there is a lot of animosity between the camps of Fury and Joshua.

It took months to get close to sealing the initial deal. So, with four months to play with until December, it's hard to imagine the fight being agreed for then. With so much money at play and the egos that are at the driving seat, there is a lot that can go wrong.

As a boxing fan, you see that Fury and Joshua both want to face each other.

If they come through their respective fights unscathed - which will be easier said than done - you hope that their desire for the fight to happen makes the whole thing easier.

With the world opening up again, the financials become much more manageable as full crowds even in the UK should be possible by the year's end.

After a frustrating 2021, those that love boxing deserve the payoff of being rewarded a fight of this magnitude.

While there are stumbling blocks to overcome, with both champions wanting it, there's no reason why it should not happen by early 2022.

After seeing two great fights between Fury-Wilder and then AJ-Usyk, the anticipation of determining heavyweight's undisputed champion will be bigger than ever...

You can follow me on Twitter here - @LewisOldham99

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