Tyson Fury insisted Monday night that he has moved on from what would be a lucrative showdown with Anthony Joshua to a much lower-profile fight against Mahmoud Charr.
The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion claimed in one Instagram post Monday that the deadline Fury imposed for his handlers and those that represent Joshua to come to an agreement for a December 3 bout at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, passed at 5 p.m. BST. That left him little choice, according to Fury anyway, but to proceed to his second option, Germany’s Charr.
Representatives for Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, which co-promotes Fury along with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, had constructive conversations Monday regarding the complicated television and streaming partnership that would be required to broadcast and stream a Fury-Joshua fight in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) is aligned with BT Sport in the UK and ESPN in the U.S. Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) has a multi-fight contract with DAZN, though Sky Sports Box Office televised his second unanimous-decision defeat to Oleksandr Usyk as a pay-per-view main event August 20 in the UK and Ireland.
Though the two sides held out hope Monday night that they could finalize a deal, Fury contended that he is now focused on facing Charr.
“Well, guys, it’s official – D-Day has come and gone,” Fury said in a video posted to his Instagram account Monday. “It’s gone past 5 o’clock Monday [in the UK]. No contract has been signed [by Joshua]. It’s officially over for Joshua. He is now out in the cold, with the wolfpack. Forget about it. Idiot! Coward! Always knew he didn’t have the minerals to fight ‘The Gypsy King.’ Good luck with your career and your life. End of [story]. Peace out.”
Fury questioned Joshua’s heart and later wrote in another Instagram post, “if i give a sucker a chance @ the bigtime i expect them to sign when told to! #nuffsaid.”
After suffering back-to-back losses to Usyk, Joshua reportedly has agreed to a 60-40 purse split that would favor Fury in what would still be considered the biggest fight in British boxing history. Fury will undoubtedly make a lot less money to battle Charr, but the Manchester native is determined to box before the end of this calendar year.
The 34-year-old Fury wants to square off against Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), but their full heavyweight title unification fight will have to wait at least until sometime in the spring because Usyk has said he needs time for his body to heal before he enters the ring again. Ukraine’s Usyk, 35, owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles Fury won from another Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, in November 2015 and later vacated.
The 37-year-old Charr, who was previously known as Manuel Charr, once owned the WBA world heavyweight title.
He has sued promoter Don King and the WBA because Charr alleged that he never received the shot at the WBA’s “super” heavyweight title that he was promised. Charr, who was born in Lebanon, has boxed just twice since November 2017 in large part due to the circumstances that eventually led to the aforementioned legal entanglement.
Charr (33-4, 19 KOs) has won five fights in a row, but he has been beaten by knockout or technical knockout by former heavyweight champions Vitali Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin and ex-cruiserweight champ Mairis Briedis in a heavyweight fight. He would be a huge underdog if he fights Fury, who has stopped former WBC champ Deontay Wilder twice and Dillian Whyte in his past three fights.
“Looking forward to fighting a man who wants to fight & has fire & desire,” Fury wrote in an Instagram post in reference to Charr. “Fought some of the best fighters & now stepping up again! Get in there Charr.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.