Hearn ’95 per cent’ sure Anthony Joshua will face Tyson Fury at start of 2021 but could be this year if Wilder pulls out – The Sun

MATCHROOM boss Barry Hearn is '95 per cent' sure Anthony Joshua faces Tyson Fury at the start of next year.

With the Covid-19 pandemic grounding global sport to a halt, the snooker and darts kingpin believes fans will not tolerate tune-up fights once the lockdown is lifted.

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And, while son and boxing promoter Eddie is plotting a summer return for the sport behind closed doors, founding father Barry is predicting the biggest show of all at the start of 2021.

The 71-year-old, who recently recovered from a heart attack, told Betfred: “Anthony Joshua is probably the easiest boxer I have ever worked with, he literally will fight anybody and he is very keen on unifying the titles and Tyson has the missing belt.

“Tyson is not afraid of anyone, at the same time, and he knows if he beats Joshua he will be an even bigger global figure.

“The good news about this pile-up of global sport events is that there will be competition for airtime when sport returns and people will not pay for tick-over contests.

“I think we have an excellent chance of seeing that fight, I would say 50-50 it is this year and, if it is not this year, then it’s 95-5 for early 2021.”

A string of complications are in the way of an all-British undisputed decider.

Watford’s WBA, IBF and WBO champ has been ordered to fight Bulgarian veteran Kubrat Pulev next and Ukrainean genius Oleksandr Usyk swiftly after.

And Fury, the freshly crowned WBC king, is contractually tied into a third fight with Deontay Wilder, who is licking his wounds after being battered by the Gypsy King and complaining of a bicep injury.

But optimistic Hearn hopes a few strokes of luck and some gentle persuasion could help him and his son help create the super-fight.

He said: “I am always confident because it is a bg fight and the demand for it is huge but there are complications, as there always are.

"Does Wilder even fight Fury again? I am hearing that he has a slight injury and cannot train until May, does that bring a delay?

“There is a chance, hypothetically if the sport comes back in September and Wilder isn’t ready or doesn’t want the fight, then I think Josh would drop Pulev and go for Fury, because that is the fight he wants more than anything else.”

Hearn has always fancied his 30-year-old boxing golden boy to do a job on Fury but he might be a little less confident after the 31-year-old’s February demolition job on the American KO artist.

AJ’s last two fights have been a shocking stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr and a masterful points revenge mission, that has left Fury the slight favourite with the bookies.

Hearn said: “Fury surprised me against Wilder but he always surprises me because I usually look at him and think Joshua beats him comfortably. But then Fury just seems to bring out the unexpected.

“I expected Wilder to connect but I don’t think he is technically good at all, he can just punch and that is always an equaliser.

“But Tyson boxed so well and exposed Wilder so much that he bashed him up and took away his desire.

"If all you have is a punch and that is taken away from you, then you cannot win the fight.

“I thought Tyson boxed out of his skin and good luck to the boy.”

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