Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury could face delay as new twist makes talks complicated

Boxing: Fury ‘can’t wait to smash Joshua’

An all-British showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury has been in the works for some time, with a bout able to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the days of Lennox Lewis. The two rivals, who occupy all four of the division’s belts between them, are widely expected to fight this year with Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn having repeatedly stated his intention to agree terms as soon as possible.

Despite the apparent willingness of all parties, the prospect of a unification bout has been threatened by a number of hurdles that could prove difficult to overcome in negotiations.

For example, Deontay Wilder’s reported option to invoke a third meeting with Fury could delay proceedings if the American pursues a trilogy fight with the only man to ever beat him in the ring.

The situation surrounding Oleksandr Usyk, the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s WBO belt, is another with the potential to upset the apple cart.

Hearn previously assured fans that Joshua and Fury will face each other this year regardless of any objections from Wilder or Usyk, but a new twist to the tale could pour cold water on Matchroom’s hopes of finalising the bout any time soon.

A report from World Boxing News has suggested that Mahmoud Charr, the current WBA (Regular) heavyweight title holder, may be ushered in to face Joshua against Hearn’s wishes.

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It is claimed that Charr is expecting to get a mandatory shot at the Watford-born fighter if he successfully defends his title against Trevor Bryan on Friday.

A similar situation occurred when the WBA ordered Joshua to face Alexander Povetkin in 2018, just days before a highly-anticipated bout with Wilder was set to be agreed.

Joshua’s camp could potentially avoid the issue by requesting an exception to the mandatory.

This has already been done in the case of Usyk, who is likely to fight Joe Joyce before being matched up against the winner of Joshua v Fury.

The report states that, as of now, Charr ‘comes nowhere in the equation’ unless he has been told otherwise by the WBA.

However, the Lebanese-born German contender appears to be confident that he will share a ring with Joshua in the near future.

“This is the mandatory fight for Joshua,” Charr told Sky Sports. “I hope the fight will happen. I’m the first heavyweight champion from the Middle East.

“I know when I beat Trevor Bryan, Eddie Hearn can make the fight in Qatar or Saudi Arabia because I’m the first Arabic heavyweight from this area.

“That will be a big, big show for everyone in the world.”

Charr boasts a professional record of 31 wins from 35 fights with four defeats.

The 36-year-old challenged Vitali Kitschko for the WBC heavyweight title in 2012, falling to a fourth-round defeat after receiving a nasty cut.

Charr was tipped to face Fury in 2018, around the time of the latter’s sensational return to the sport, but an agreement ultimately failed to come to fruition.

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