Tyson Fury has returned to negotiations for the all-British heavyweight super-fight with Anthony Joshua, Skysports revealed.
But Fury has set his rival another deadline and called for him to sign the contract for their showdown today.
“My promoter Frank Warren convinced me to let Queensberry carry on negotiating with your team this week, despite me knowing that you were never going to do this fight,” Fury said.
Both Fury and Joshua are aligned with different broadcasters. Bringing those networks to an agreement on a TV deal was seen as a key stumbling block in the negotiations for this fight. But Fury has claimed that the rival broadcasters are “all happy with the terms”.
“So the deadline was Monday,” Fury said. “I allowed Frank to continue doing meetings with your team and your broadcasters and all that. Now we have BT, DAZN and ESPN all on the same page. They are happy with everything, they are all ready to rock and roll.
“You guys ask for a lot of stuff, you want to be co-promoters when you’re a voluntary challenger. Guess what, I said give it them, let them be co-promoters.
“You wanted full transparency, even though you’re not an equal shareholder in this party. You know what I said? Give them full transparency, I’ve got nothing to hide, I’m not trying to rob anybody, I’ve not robbed anybody of a penny in my life.
“So now you’ve got full transparency, everything is clean and fair. Now Joshua, the ball is really in your court son.”
Joshua has previously insisted that he would sign the contract, but it had to go through his lawyers and management team.
In a direct challenge to him, Fury declared, “Everybody is done. If you’re a man, and if you’ve got any sort of dignity and pride about you, you’ll get this contract signed today. This is it. There is no more days, weeks, months, you’ve had the contract now for over two weeks and you still haven’t signed it.
“Show the public that you’re really the big coward that I know you are, and don’t sign it. I don’t care either way if you sign it or you don’t, it makes no difference to me at all. You’re a beaten man and I’m a world champion. I’m chucking you a massive bone, but I know I can punch a face in so I’m willing to give you an opportunity.
“There’s nothing more to do, everyone is happy. Get your team onto mine, they will be available all day, like they’ve been available the last two weeks. Get this contract signed!
“Let the British fans have what they want. There is no running, you have to fight me. You cannot escape. The Fury is coming.”
But Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has told Sky Sports that he is ‘quite baffled’ by Fury’s latest ultimatum, with ‘positive conversations’ still ongoing between both promotional teams.
“I don’t want to get involved with back and forths that are going to negatively impact this fight being made, but to be honest, we are quite baffled by the situation,” said Hearn.
“Firstly, when we agreed terms for the fight, it took us over a week to receive a draft contract. We have not had that contract for 14 days.
“Over the next week, we’ve worked tirelessly and had a number of meetings with Queensberry to get the contract in some kind of decent shape. Last Monday, we sent our final draft of the contract to Queensberry, only to see that Tyson Fury had publicly pulled out of the fight and it was no longer on the table.
“Yesterday we then received comments back from Queensberry on our final draft of the agreement, of which is now being reviewed.
“I’m not sure why Tyson Fury keeps setting unrealistic deadlines whilst also offering the fight to a number of other heavyweights for the selected date. If he is serious about the fight being made, I suggest he allows Matchroom and Queensberry to keep working hard to make the fight, of which everyone has been trying hard to do.
“You can’t publicly keep pulling out of a fight and then restart negotiations when there has been so many positive conversations had. We’ll see what happens from here.”
SPORTING TRIBUNE/ IBIWUNMI ISHOLA