World boxing champion, Anthony Joshua has insisted that he is ready to take a £6.5m financial hit and fight Tyson Fury behind closed doors because he believes it will be his only opportunity to do so.
Joshua, the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion of the world, had been due to fight IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on 20 June, only for the fight to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fury is meanwhile mulling his next move after dethroning WBC champion Deontay Wilder, although it appears likely the American will exercise his right to an immediate rematch.
However, there has been fervent speculation that Joshua and Fury could at some point meet in a 2020 unification showdown, with Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn saying last month that there have been “plenty of conversations” between the two camps.
And Joshua has said that he now fears the only hope he has of fighting Fury is behind closed doors, which would see both men suffering a significant financial blow.
“If Eddie Hearn said he managed to secure the Tyson Fury fight, even if it is behind closed doors, I would take it,” Joshua told DAZN.
“If I don’t take it now then I don’t think Tyson Fury will be around by the time this all comes around again, when big hall shows are available. I have to take the opportunity while they’re there.”
Joshua has also reiterated that he is open to resuming his career behind closed doors, despite the obvious financial implications.
There were originally suggestions his planned June contest with Pulev could happen without fans, before the date was scrapped.
“Economically I’m taking a big hit like the rest of the world,” Joshua added.
“I would definitely fight for the love of my sport and economically I’ve got that hunger in me, even if I drop five dollars or pounds, I’m turning back to get it. I’m never too big to earn a buck”
“100% I would fight for $8m less [from no gate receipts]. 100% I would take the opportunity to fight at the drop of a hat.”
However, the unified heavyweight champion and 2012 gold medallist admitted it would be difficult to fight in a quiet, empty venue.
“You know what, I think it will,” he replied when asked whether a lack of atmosphere would have on his ability in the ring.
“When you are fighting in front of 80,000 people, whether you like it or not there is a massive impact on your psyche, on your confidence. That urge to perform. I’m performing for the crowd.
“So yes it would be difficult to fight without the crowd there to entertain. But a win is a win, and it goes down in history and this is just part of history.”