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Eddie Hearn believes Top Rank always planned to do Fury vs Wilder 3, used Anthony Joshua’s name

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Was Fury-Wilder 3 always the plan? Eddie Hearn is starting to believe so.

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua 2 - Clash on the Dunes, IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Eddie Hearn admitted he was “gutted” the Tyson Fury vs Anthony fight has been thrown off track, when an arbitrator ruled that Fury must battle Deontay Wilder next.

Speaking to Ak and Barak on their DAZN Boxing Show, the Matchroom promoter said he felt like a “one-man army” while trying to get the super-fight off the runway.

“I can’t control the other side,” he noted.

Maybe he was a bit naive, Hearn stated, to believe people who told him that the pending arbitration wouldn’t affect Fury-Joshua plans. When he spoke to Top Rank’s Bob Arum on the phone right after the arbitration news dropped, he told Arum it made sense to stay on the road to make Fury-AJ.

“The whole thing absolutely stinks,” Hearn said, making clear he thinks this was the plan for Top Rank all along.

He isn’t sure that kicking the can down the road and making Fury-Joshua in December is the right move, or will occur. And it’s clear Hearn has been mulling things since the arbitration bomb dropped on May 18, and he’s gotten more salty in that time frame.

Hearn thinks there’s not been a real effort made to put off Wilder with a “step aside” fee. He speculated as to why, what sort of deals behind the scenes may have affected the whole matter. Hearn finds it curious that Fury isn’t kicking up dust, and doesn’t appear to be at all bummed that plans to battle AJ went into the gutter.

“AJ feels that the entire team never wanted the fight and they used his name for clout,” said Hearn.

The promoter kept a measured tone, but he betrayed a certain level of angry intensity when he said he believes that people were “in cahoots” to keep Fury-Joshua from being completed.

So on to the future, where it seems like Joshua will likely battle WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk battle. “End of August” is the time frame that Hearn has in mind for a tussle between those two. AJ has told Hearn that he’s up for fighting Usyk, but it isn’t impossible that AJ gives up the WBO belt.

Hearn has his hands tied, arguably, because there aren’t a plethora of alternative options for AJ. The heavyweight top 10 is actually pretty darned thin, filled with vets on the downside, others who have never reached their potential, young guns that aren’t that young, and skillfully managed athletes who are perhaps rated higher than their skill set would suggest is appropriate.

Hearn seems in a mood of heavy cynicism, and thinks the July 24 date for Fury-Wilder 3 will be pushed back, for the record. “I don’t believe anything anymore,” he said.

The promoter noted that boxing fans are having to dig deep into their pockets for all the pay-per-view events in the summer, including Pacquiao-Spence, Fury-Wilder 3, Davis-Barrios, Mayweather-Logan Paul, and Lopez-Kambosos.

“It’s out of control,” he said, throwing in a plug for DAZN, which requires a monthly subscription, but no extra fees beyond that.

All in all, it feels like boxing is back to normal, at least to a degree, when you see that the promotional wars like this have returned.