Tyson Fury has been warned Anthony Joshua will be the heavyweight kingpin even if he beats Deontay Wilder.
Fury clashes with WBC champ Wilder at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday and the winner will receive the Ring Magazine belt in recognition as the division’s No.1.
Yet Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn claims his man is the uncrowned king of the heavyweights because he holds the other three main belts.
He says the winner of Saturday’s rematch must face his WBA Super, IBF and WBO title holder for the right to call themselves No.1. “For sure, the winner needs to face Joshua,” said the Matchroom MD. “Someone who has one belt can’t say they are No.1 over someone who has three belts.
“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 the No.1 until they have met Joshua. That will establish who the No.1 is.”
Hearn claims Joshua is willing to face the winner, if he comes through his IBF mandatory against Kubrat Pulev in June, and Saudi Arabia are interested in staging the showdown.
But he knows there are many obstacles in the way of a unification bout and Saturday’s loser will have the option to trigger a third fight.
“We’re ready to go after the Pulev fight with the winner,” said Hearn. “We know they’ve got a rematch clause and maybe it can’t be done. But we’re ready to open negotiations if they want to.
“If Fury wins, we’ve got a straight line to Bob Arum and MTK. If Wilder wins, it’s much, much harder. It’s going to take someone from their side to lose a bit of ego and make the call.”
Hearn claims Fury’s TV deal with ESPN to fight in the States is another issue because Joshua would want to face him in the UK. “We have to be realistic,” he said. “Joshua wants to fight Fury in the UK. He’s already said that to me.
“Fury has turned his back on the UK. He’s had three fights on the spin in America. He ain’t coming back, he ain’t interested in fighting here.”
Hearn also dismissed Fury’s claims he will try to knock Wilder out because he was robbed by the judges in the first fight 14 months ago when they scored it a draw.
“I think Fury has got to do what Fury does,” he 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 Klitschko, round by round, and bank the rounds.
“Wilder has got to be more aggressive. He’s got to come out and try to take his chances early. He will be thinking all he’s got to do is chin him, and it’s over.”
Fury famously rose from the canvas in the 12th round last time to create a moment of boxing folklore after Wilder chinned him, and Hearn feels the great showman fooled everyone.