Friday 31 December, 12.00pm
British heavyweight rivals Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have agreed a two-fight deal. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse jabs at the early betting...
"Fans want to see one heavyweight champion of the world and this is seen as a step in the right direction."
News broke on Wednesday that world heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury had agreed a two-fight deal. It's the bout fight fans across the world have been desperate to see and the fixture that could get UK sport firing again.
Promoter Eddie Hearn took to the sporting press to reveal he had been involved in talks with AJ and the Gypsy King designed to push forward a unification bout between the top two fighters in the division. The Matchroom Sports head was delighted to confirm both parties had agreed on the finer details and shook hands on a pair of battles.
Fury must deal with Wilder
That may have caught followers of the noble art off-guard slightly, but the news was welcomed by everyone with an interest in the sport. Fans want to see one heavyweight champion of the world and this is seen as a step in the right direction. It was feared the clash would become wrapped up in red tape with Joshua and Fury working for rival management teams.
The financial side of things has been secured but a few hurdles remain. The obvious one being Fury's trilogy with American rival Deontay Wilder. Tyson famously beat the Bronze Bomber into a seventh round submission back in February following the pair's controversial draw in 2018.
The deal for a third fight has already been signed and Wilder said he wants to take the chance to regain his WBC belt. So, before Fury v Joshua, we will likely have Fury v Wilder, hopefully in 2020.
Joshua knows Pulev wants his shot
Joshua also has at least one fight to get through. The big hitting Londoner was scheduled to meet Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in spring. The original fight date was postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown and the fight has now been shelved, put back to later this year.
There have been suggestions Pulev could be offered a payment to step aside and pave the way for a unification bout between Joshua and Fury, but The Cobra seems adamant he wants a crack at the title after working his way into contention. At 39 years old the man from Sofia knows there won't be too many more chances.
Adding Dillian Whyte's name into the equation only complicates matters further. The Bodysnatcher is number one contender and won't be ignored any longer.
Summer 2021 pencilled in
The thinking at this stage is that the first fight between Fury and Joshua could happen next summer, but that's if everything goes smoothly before then. Joshua will have to beat a dangerous Pulev and Fury must repeat his win over Wilder in Las Vegas.
Providing both champions successfully defend their belts and we do get the unification in the summer of 2021 - more than likely at Wembley or another major English football stadium - who will come out on top?
Will AJ add the WBC strap to his collection in a win that would see him recognised as the best heavyweight on the planet? Will Fury maintain his unbeaten record and inflict the second defeat of AJ's career following his knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr?
Gypsy King hot favourite
We won't get the answer to that question until the gladiators share a ring. That may still be some way off, but Betfair members can get in early and make their predictions on the possible outcome.
Exchange bettors will be interested to see Fury is trading as hot favourite in the fight winner market at 1.654/6. Joshua to silence his critics and rule the division is a 2.77/4 play at the time of writing. Happy to take up position on the fence? The draw is 2726/1.
Friday 31 December, 12.00pm