Hearn: Wilder-Fury Winner Can’t Say They Are No. 1 Above Joshua

Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will be ready for a unification fight with the winner of Saturday’s Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight and says neither Wilder nor Fury can call themselves No 1 in the world until they beat Joshua.

Joshua is due to defend his WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev, the IBF mandatory challenger, in London on June 13 or 20.

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If he wins, he has then been ordered to face Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO’s mandatory, but Hearn says Joshua would consider giving up that belt if a fight with Wilder or Fury could be made.

“Someone who has one belt can’t say they are No 1 over someone who has three belts,” Hearn said. “There is no question in the world that Joshua has a better resume than those guys, particularly Deontay Wilder.

“He was the No 1. He lost his belts, he won them back, he’s still the No 1. I can see the argument that one of those guys might be the No 1. But no one, hand on heart, can say they are they No 1 until they have met Joshua. That will establish who the No 1 is.

“We’re ready to go after the Pulev fight with the winner of that fight.

“We know they’ve got a rematch clause and maybe it can’t be done. But we’re ready to open negotiations straight after that fight if they want to.”

Hearn says he has not been sold on Fury’s claims that he will be going for a knockout and thinks the former champion could turn it into a stinker to frustrate Wilder.

“Fury has got to do what Fury does,” Hearn said. “He’s got to be boring, he’s got to make it horrible, he’s got to jig around and do what he did against [Wladimir] Klitschko, round by round and bank the rounds.

“He’s got to make it a bit of a chess match, a bit boring and frustrating, but it doesn’t matter.

“Wilder has got to be more aggressive. He’s got to come out and try and take his chances early.

 He will be thinking all he’s got to do is chin him, and it’s over.”

Hearn also doubted whether Fury did get hit by a full-blooded punch when he was knocked down in his first fight with Wilder in 2018.

Fury’s seeming rise from the dead, when he appeared to be knocked unconscious only to beat Jack Reiss’s count of ten, has gone down in folklore, but Hearn says that he believes Wilder did not actually land with his full force.

“I didn’t think he got hit properly last time,” Hearn said. “Watch it back, he’s riding backwards and he gets hit with a right hand and then the left hook on the way down. If he gets hit flush on the chin, it’s a different story.

“It wasn’t a big shot and I don’t believe he was unconscious in the slightest. It’s just a wonderful story.”

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