Eddie Hearn: Countries have expressed interest in Joshua vs. Fury but 'no negotiations have taken place'

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The possibility of a heavyweight clash between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury made headlines on Thursday, but Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, says that negotiations of a fight with Fury aren’t underway.

Hearn told Sky Sports that talks can’t start between the two parties yet, as both are contracted to other fights first. Joshua is slated to face Kubrat Pulev to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO belts, and Deontay Wilder has the right to enforce a third fight with Fury to try to win back the WBC belt.

“There is a keenness from our side and Fury’s side to go straight into (a fight between them), but we are both under contract for different fights,” Hearn said. “No negotiations have taken place. Negotiations can’t take place until we know if Wilder will step aside, and if Pulev will step aside.”

Wilder, who is recovering from biceps surgery, turned aside suggestions of stepping aside from a third fight with Fury, telling the Premier Boxing Champions podcast last month saying, “Why wouldn’t I want it?”

Hearn said the focus is on the contracted fights, with the winners of the two fights meeting in the spring of 2021.

On Thursday, ESPN reported that negotiations were underway between Fury and Joshua for a heavyweight title unification fight in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula.

Hearn confirmed that Saudi Arabia and two other nations expressed interesting in hosting a Joshua-Fury fight.

While Hearn would love to stage the bout in the UK, the uncertainty of whether fans would be allowed to attend is a big sticking point.

The British Boxing Board of Control is hopeful the sport can resume in July but without fans and with a maximum of five fights per event.

Bob Arum, Fury’s promoter, told Sky Sports that everything is possible and nothing is off the table.

“We have to sit and discuss this, to figure out how to move into the future,” Arum said. “I can’t predict when Fury vs. Wilder will take place or if it will happen.”

Hearn said the talks between the two camps are moving in a positive direction.

“We’re talking, we’re moving in the right direction,” Hearn said. “We’ve all got the same mindset to create the biggest fight in boxing history between the two British world champions for the undisputed heavyweight championship.

“You will get this fight. It’s just a case of when and where.”

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