There is a verbal agreement in place for Anthony Joshua to fight Tyson Fury in a heavyweight unification bout, with promoter Eddie Hearn seemingly suggesting the Middle East as the likely venue.

Joshua's ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev last week kept him on a collision course with Fury, who has not fought since defeating Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC title, which is the only belt Joshua does not own.

Wilder has a rematch clause he can trigger for a third fight with Fury, however, Joshua's promoter Hearn is insistent the only bout either camp is concerned about is one that will crown a Briton as the undisputed champion.

Speaking at the post-fight news conference for Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's victory over Callum Smith, Hearn said: "They've been ongoing none stop, the next move is drafting of agreements which is going on right now.

"[There's] a lot of work to do on that but only minor points in my opinion to resolve. So I think you'll see over the next few weeks getting into that position where we can get into the market place and look at where that fight might take place. But as I've said before no one is looking at another fight from either team other than that one."

Asked about a verbal agreement, he added: "Yes, yes I mean we have a verbal.

"AJ has a fighting exclusive with Sky, Fury with BT, in America Fury with ESPN, AJ with DAZN. Minor again, then the silly stuff, who walks out first, who gets the better changing room. AJ thinks he's the A side, Fury thinks he's the A side. Anthony Joshua [is the A side] - when you talk about as a global brand and the biggest draw globally in that fight, it's clear it's AJ. He has three of the belts - this is why AJ could fight in December and Fury couldn't.

"It depends where it could take place, if it's in the Middle East I think Ramadan runs until mid-May so the end of May, early June is target for that fight. If it's in the UK May-June is great as well.

"But the only way that fight can take place in the UK is if 90,000 fans can attend. Even then guys could be taking 50 per cent of the purse in another territory, but right now with the UK going into another lockdown, who knows if we'll see those kind of numbers?"

Tyson Fury has urged Anthony Joshua to "grow a pair and sign the contract" for a much-anticipated unification fight between the heavyweights. 

Joshua knocked out Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena on Saturday to retain his IBF, WBA and WBO belts, in the process clearing another potential hurdle standing between himself and a lucrative showdown with Fury. 

Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed on Sunday that an agreement could be in place for a 'Battle of Britain' clash in May 2021 in the next "couple of days". 

Fury, who has not stepped in the ring since reclaiming the WBC heavyweight belt with victory over Deontay Wilder in February, has now ramped up the stakes by suggesting the deal hinges on Joshua. 

"I'm willing to take the fight, I don't know if they are," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain. 

"I've been willing to take the fight for the last five years, it's not happened so far but I'm very optimistic it will happen in 2021."

Asked if he had a message for Joshua, he replied: "Grow a pair and sign the contract, big boy." 

Plans for a trilogy fight between Fury and Wilder in July were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Joshua may yet be told by the WBO that he has to face mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk next. 

Should an agreement finally be reached between Fury and Joshua for a two-fight deal, it will reportedly be worth $500million (£372.47m). 

"Well, that doesn't sound too bad, but then again I don't believe anything I see in the paper," Fury said. 

"So yeah, we'll see what's going go on, but let's hope this fight happens." 

He added: "All of these organisations will allow this fight - it's the biggest one since Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman and the Rumble in the Jungle. it's a massive fight. 

"Oleksandr Usyk is a mandatory - but if that belt has to be vacated then I'm sure they’re going to do it to make the biggest fight of our generation. 

"I'm willing, I hope he's willing and let's give the fans the fight they really want to see." 

Joshua finished Pulev with a brutal right in the ninth round, but Fury was not that impressed by his rival's performance and vowed to get the job done inside four rounds. 

"I'm not just saying it because he's going to be a rival of mine and he's going to be one of my opponents, but I've always said for a long time that I do believe Anthony Joshua's tailor-made for somebody with my style," he said. 

"I think it's going be one of the most explosive, quickest fights you're going to see. I'm aiming to take him out inside four rounds." 

A deal for the long-awaited world heavyweight unification title fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury could be agreed within days, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joshua knocked out Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena on Saturday to retain his IBF, WBA and WBO belts and clear another potential hurdle standing between himself and a lucrative showdown with Fury.

Hearn confirmed in the aftermath of the fight that talks over a 'Battle of Britain' clash in 2021 will ramp up on Monday and has now revealed he expects a contract to be signed imminently.

Asked how long it will realistically take to complete a deal between both camps, Hearn was quoted by BBC Sport as saying: "A couple of days. There is no reason we cannot complete the deal and then move on and solve the other problems.

"We need to write to the governing bodies and say yes we have a deal and we will now talk to the various sites and confirm the dates shortly for what I suppose will be the end of May."

Fury reclaimed the WBC heavyweight belt by ending Deontay Wilder's unbeaten streak in February with a sensational seventh-road stoppage in their much-anticipated rematch in Las Vegas.

However, he has not been in action since as plans for a trilogy between the pair in July were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, while a possible return to the ring in December against another opponent was ruled out last month.

Joshua may be told by the WBO that he has to face mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk, meanwhile, but Matchroom promoter Hearn remains confident of getting the bout on in 2021.

"The only hitch I can think of is Wilder. If the court order the Fury rematch, and it doesn't sound as though they will, then it is out of our hands," he said. "That is the only way it falls through is if something stops their side. 

"That isn't me saying they don't want it, they do, but if the court orders it then we will have to fight Usyk.

"The WBO probably on Monday will email to say you have 30 days to start negotiations with Usyk. [Bob] Arum seems very confident that the fight (Wilder-Fury) is not on. Unless he has made complete balls up, it sounds like the fight is dead."

There is no doubting Fury's eagerness for the fight, with the 32-year-old having posted a video to his official Twitter account on Saturday promising a quick win in a meeting with Joshua. 

"He got asked if he wants the fight and he went around the bushes," Fury said in the video.

"I want the fight. I want the fight next – I will knock him out inside three rounds. He's a big bum dosser, I can't wait to knock him out."

Eddie Hearn promised "less talk" and "more action" as the promoter plans to get a deal done for Anthony Joshua to fight Tyson Fury next. 

Joshua cleared a potential hurdle in the way of the lucrative heavyweight showdown by beating Kubrat Pulev on Saturday, in the process retaining his IBF, WBA and WBO belts. 

Fury is the reigning WBC champion, and the two British boxers now appear on a collision course for 2021. 

Hearn believes it will be a historical occasion when the pair do finally meet in the ring, as he plans to begin negotiations with Fury's team immediately. 

"Since he [Joshua] came into my office, he's wanted to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," Hearn told Sky Sports Boxing. 

"Less talk from us, more action. We're going to be friendly, we're going to be nice. We know what we have to do, starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away. 

"It's the only fight to be made in boxing – and it's the biggest fight in boxing. It's the biggest fight in British boxing history, too. 

"I know he [Joshua] wants it. He's the best heavyweight in the world, I promise you. He will break him down and knock him out. 

"We know what we have to do, we know what we want to do. It's about legacy – and we will get it done."

Top Rank's Bob Arum, who works with Fury, also made clear that his priority is to get the fight signed and sealed, insisting it will be as big as Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier, which is known as the 'Fight of the Century'.

"It looks like the stage is set for the biggest heavyweight championship fight since Ali-Frazier in 1971, when Tyson Fury meets Anthony Joshua for the undisputed crown," Arum posted on Twitter.

"We at Top Rank will start on Monday working to put that fight together."

Fury shelved plans to fight before the end of 2020, while he and Joshua – who stopped Pulev in the ninth round at Wembley Arena – agreed a two-fight deal earlier this year.

Anthony Joshua made clear his desire to become the undisputed heavyweight champion ahead of a potential showdown with Tyson Fury, who insists he will knock out his rival inside three rounds.

In his first fight on home soil in over two years, Joshua successfully defended his IBF, WBO and WBA titles with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena on Saturday.

The victory clears a major hurdle standing in the way of a unification clash with Fury, who holds the WBC belt following his victory over Deontay Wilder earlier this year.

For Joshua, the only thing that matters is his legacy as he looks to complete the set in 2021.

"I started this game in 2013, I've been chasing all the belts and dealing with mandatories," Joshua told Sky Sports Boxing.

"Of course I want a challenge. It's not about the opponent, it's about the legacy and the belt.

"Whoever has got the belt, I'd love to compete with them. If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury. It's no big deal.

"It's just one fight at time, picking them off one at a time. I've got to stay focused."

Fury himself was quick to offer his verdict on social media, posting a video including a prediction of an early stoppage win in his favour, should the bout go ahead in 2021.

"He got asked if he wants the fight and he went around the bushes," Fury said in a Twitter post.

"I want the fight. I want the fight next – I will knock him out inside three rounds. He's a big bum dosser, I can't wait to knock him out."

On his performance against Pulev, who was knocked down four times in total, Joshua commented: "It's a fight – less talk, more action.

"We did our press conference on Thursday, on Friday there was a bit of back to back [at the weigh-in], but boxing is about less talk and more action.

"I hope everyone was satisfied tonight, not only with my fight but the whole undercard as well."

Anthony Joshua retained his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in style at Wembley Arena, stopping Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round of their heavyweight contest. 

In his first outing since reclaiming the belts from Andy Ruiz Jr just over a year ago, Joshua dropped his challenger four times on his way to a victory that clears the path for a huge unification clash with WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2021. 

Pulev had exchanged words with the unified champion at a feisty weigh-in on Friday, yet the Bulgarian failed to pose too many problems once the pair came face to face again in the ring.

Joshua had produced a calculated performance to avenge a stunning first loss in the pros to Ruiz, utilising his boxing skills to record a unanimous points win in their Diriyah rematch in December 2019. 

However, there was no need for the judges on Saturday, the Briton finishing the job as he recorded a 22nd stoppage victory in his 25-fight career. 

After a quiet start to proceedings, the action suddenly came to life in front of a 1,000-strong crowd – Floyd Mayweather Jr among them following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in London – when Pulev was put down twice in the third round. 

Joshua countered a laboured jab with a crunching right hand that immediately had his opponent in trouble, leading to an onslaught that ended when Pulev turned his back while stuck in a corner. 

Cleared to carry on, an uppercut saw him dropped again before an eventful round concluded with both fighters landing hooks after the bell had sounded. 

The only surprise after that was Pulev managing to last for as long as he did, the 39-year-old occasionally even having the odd moment of success as the contest became scrappy. 

Joshua, though, produced a series of uppercuts to signal the beginning of the end, leading to a third knockdown. Pulev rose again to continue, only to be caught by a straight right hand that laid him out. 

It was an emphatic finish, followed by celebrations with Mayweather at ringside, as Joshua made sure he did not slip up with so much at stake.

Anthony Joshua is back on British soil aiming to avoid another untimely career setback when he defends his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Kubrat Pulev. 

The unified heavyweight champion has Tyson Fury pencilled in for a fight in 2021 – provided he comes through Saturday's main event at Wembley Arena, which will see a 1,000-strong crowd present. 

Pulev has patiently waited his turn – this pair were initially due to meet back in 2017, only for the Bulgarian to have to pull out through injury – but finally gets his chance, this a second attempt to stage the contest in 2020 after a June date was scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic.

He certainly did not waste his opportunity at the weigh-in to get under Joshua's skin, as a lengthy exchange between the pair went on for several minutes as security watched on, just in case.

The challenger has a record to suggest there is reason to believe he can back up his words with meaningful actions. Pulev's only defeat in the paid ranks was to Wladimir Klitschko six years ago - and he's won eight on the spin since that setback.

Still, he is now 39 and has not fought anyone close to Joshua's level since being stopped inside five rounds by Klitschko.

In truth, though, this is all about Joshua. The Briton bounced back from a first career loss to regain his titles a year ago against an out-of-shape Andy Ruiz Jr, a considered approach allowing him to dictate terms over 12 rounds. 

His method paid off on that occasion, aided by his opponent's lack of thorough preparation, but will we see a return to the more aggressive, open style that helped his rise in popularity? 

A desire to impress somewhat caused his downfall in the first meeting with Ruiz, who climbed off the canvas to cause a monumental shock at the famous Madison Square Garden. Pulev's pre-fight words may well have tempted Joshua into a battle, but to do so is a risk for the home favourite when so much is at stake.

Fury - and boxing fans across the world - will watch on with great interest, knowing a win for the home favourite clears one of the major hurdles in the way of a huge unification showdown for next year.


RECENT HISTORY 

Joshua has not fought at home since September 2018, when he stopped Alexander Povetkin at a packed-out Wembley Stadium.

Since then, his two fights on the road have both been against Ruiz Jr, the last of them a rematch staged in Diriyah that went the distance.

Pulev, meanwhile, fought twice in 2019, beating Rydell Booker on points in a 10-rounder to follow on from a stoppage success against Bogdan Dinu earlier in the year.

He has two relatively recent bouts against British fighters on his career resume too, having beaten both Hughie Fury (October 2018) and Dereck Chisora (May 2016) on points. 


TALE OF THE TAPE 

ANTHONY JOSHUA

Age: 31
Height: 6ft 6ins (198cm) 
Weight: 241lbs 
Reach: 82ins  
Professional record: 23-1 (21 KOs) 
Major career titles: IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight

KUBRAT PULEV

Age: 39
Height: 6ft 4.5ins (194cm) 
Weight: 239lbs 
Reach: 79.5ins  
Professional record: 28-1 (14 KOs) 
Major career titles: European heavyweight


THE UNDERCARD 

Lawrence Okolie takes on late stand-in Nikodem Jezewski in a cruiserweight contest as chief support. Originally, the plan had been to fight for the vacant WBO title against Krzysztof Glowacki, who was forced to withdraw from the card after testing positive for COVID-19.

Hughie Fury - a former Pulev foe - is in action against the experienced Mariusz Wach, while there is an intriguing heavyweight clash involving Martin Bakole and Sergey Kuzmin.

Unbeaten welterweight Florian Marku makes his Matchroom debut, taking on Jamie Stewart over eight rounds. However, the former nearly came to blows long before the first bell after becoming involved in a Twitter spat with another boxer inside the bubble.

Macaulay McGowan, who is up against Kieron Conway on Saturday, made clear in an interview he wants to take on Marku in the future, leading to an exchange of messages on social media and a meeting in a hotel corridor that required the presence of security to diffuse the situation.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY... 

Joshua on the weigh-in confrontation: "I know what's he like. He thinks he's a warrior. I said, 'Don't let the guys you've fought gas you up - you're in against a real one now'."

Pulev after the verbal exchange: "I respect him - he's an Olympic champion, a world champion. I respect him so much, but I am the better boxer. Tomorrow (Saturday) I will show him."

Trainer Rob McCracken on Joshua's mindset: "He doesn't underestimate anybody, takes everybody seriously. But he's not unified champion twice for no reason - he's a fantastic fighter and will only get better."

Anthony Joshua is willing to take on anyone but wants to prove he is the best heavyweight in the world by fighting Tyson Fury, says Eddie Hearn.

Joshua is preparing to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO belts against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, his first fight of a year that has seen the boxing schedule hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bulgarian Pulev – who is the IBF's mandatory challenger – is a hurdle the champion needs to clear ahead of a potential unification showdown against WBC holder Fury, the British rivals having agreed a two-fight deal for 2021.

However, with Fury involved in a mediation process with former opponent Deontay Wilder over a potential trilogy fight, Oleksandr Usyk could offer an alternative option.

Promoter Hearn has made clear that Joshua is ready for any challenger in the ring, though the lucrative showdown with Fury remains his top priority.

"AJ has consistently proved that he will fight all-comers – mandatory challengers, unified champions, future hall-of-famers," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"Now he's doing it again [with Pulev], and that's why when you talk about Usyk, he will fight Usyk no problems at all, but he wants to fight Tyson Fury.

"He wants to prove he's the best heavyweight in the world and undisputed or not, we will do everything we can to make sure it is. Not one person can have any doubt after that fight, who the baddest man on the planet is."

Fury had planned to make a title defence before the end of 2020 – Agit Kabayel was lined up as an opponent for December – but announced on Twitter on Sunday that he will not now be back in the ring until next year.

'The Gypsy King' secured the belt by sensationally stopping Deontay Wilder in February, while also holds a point win over Wladimir Klitschko on his record.

Hearn, though, insists Fury's CV does not come close to stacking up when compared to who Joshua has faced – and beaten – since turning pro.

"It makes me laugh when people look at AJ's resume," Hearn said. "Maybe I'm seeing something other people don't?

"I mean Dillian Whyte, Dominic Breazeale, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, Carlos Takam, Andy Ruiz, Kubrat Pulev.

"These are consecutive fights. You don't see Tom Schwarz, Otto Wallin, Sefer Serferi. Who is the other geezer? I can't even remember his name, the Italian bloke? And then Agit Kabayel.

"I mean it's laughable when you compare the two resumes, but it's in black and white for everyone to see."

Tyson Fury has revealed he will be returning to the ring in 2021, thereby ruling out a planned December bout for the WBC heavyweight champion. 

Fury claimed the title by ending Deontay Wilder's reign – as well as the American's unbeaten streak – in February, producing a sensational stoppage in the seventh round of their much-anticipated rematch in Las Vegas. 

Plans for a trilogy fight between the pair in July were put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic, while the new champion has also agreed a two-fight deal to face Anthony Joshua next year. 

Fury had appeared set to be in action before then, however, with European champion Agit Kabayel a potential opponent for a December 5 outing.

However, with Wilder initiating a mediation over his right to a rematch, that fight date has been scrapped, Fury confirmed on Twitter.   

"The Gypsy King is returning in 2021," he wrote. "Only those that have supported me 100 per cent since my comeback will be with me for the glory."

At the start of November, Wilder called on Fury to "be a man" and stick to the rematch clause in their contract from their second fight.

"When that fight was a draw, I told you that I would give you a rematch," Wilder tweeted in a lengthy post.

"You know I was offered more money to fight Joshua than I was getting to fight you. Again being a man of my word, I fought you like I said I would…"

A decision on Wilder's case for a third meeting is expected to be announced in the near future, with promoter Frank Warren telling BT Sport on Friday: "Next week, we will know what the position is."

Filip Hrgovic has challenged fellow heavyweight contenders to stop avoiding him after dismantling Rydell Booker with ease to remain unbeaten.

The Croatian stopped his former sparring partner inside five rounds on the undercard to Devin Haney's points victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa, continuing his rise as he aims to step out of the shadows in a crowded division.

Hrgovic boasts a 12-0 record and while there are some notable names on the list of previous opponents – his professional CV includes knocking out former world title challenger Eric Molina in three rounds, as well as beating the experienced Kevin Johnson on points – the former amateur star is ready for a step up in class.

Speaking to DAZN after becoming the first fighter to stop Booker, the 28-year-old made clear he is growing "impatient" having been avoided in the past.

"I would like to fight the best in the division," Hrgovic said in his post-fight interview. "It will be hard for my promoters and my manager to put those fights together, but I want the best in the division.

"Come on guys, sign that contract! Everyone we sent a contract to declined. I'm not so tough - sign the contract!"

He added: "I'm impatient. I had a long amateur career, long WBSS (World Boxing Super Series) and I feel ready. I want a hard fight, a lot of Instagram boxers just talk, no one wants to sign a fight with me."

While admitting he is not quite ready to take on the leading names such as Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, Hrgovic called out plenty of others who he hopes will step up to face him.

Among the list were Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte, who had been due to meet in a rematch on November 21 until the former contracted COVID-19.

"I need a couple of hard fights, a couple of big names at the level below those guys you mention [in Joshua, Fury and Deontay Wilder]," Hrgovic said.

"I'm looking for these kinds of fighters: Michael Hunter, Zhang Zhilei, Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Povetkin, Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora... I want all these guys to fight.

"That will be my preparation for the best in the division."

Anthony Joshua wants to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, warning "I'm keen on getting my hands on" Tyson Fury's WBC title.

A deal for two 2021 fights between Fury (30-0-1) and WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO holder Joshua (23-1) was agreed in principle in June.

Joshua, who reclaimed his belts by beating Andy Ruiz in a rematch last December, will defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev next month.

But Joshua is eyeing Fury and the full collection of heavyweight championships, telling Sky Sports: "It's always been my wish. Not just the WBC but competing with the toughest challenges that the heavyweight division has to offer.

"That's the only way to get better, right? You have a tough night, you go back again, you improve whether you win or lose.

"Fighting for the WBC would be an honour. It's a prestigious belt, it's one that I'm keen on getting my hands on.

"When the time is right, the opportunity will present itself."

Meanwhile, Tyson Fury's brother Tommy also discussed the upcoming heavyweight blockbuster.

"I'm not being biased but the Joshua fight will be the easiest fight of Tyson's career," Tommy Fury told Press Box HR. "Tyson's an all-around better fighter than Joshua. Joshua's a great champion and achieved a lot in his career but Tyson's just on that next level.

"There's not anything that Joshua does that poses a threat. He comes forward and he throws a one-two, a hook and the occasional uppercut - that's it.

"For my money, Wilder would have had his way with Joshua. Wilder's a lot more explosive and a harder hitter, so if Tyson has done that to Wilder, what is he gonna do to Joshua? The Joshua fight would be a foregone conclusion.

"If Tyson chose to box, Joshua wouldn't get near him. If Tyson wants to fight AJ like he did Wilder then he ain't going to win that battle because Tyson is six-feet-nine inches, nearly 20 stone and has got big, big firepower now. If a massive puncher like Wilder couldn't do anything with that, what's Joshua going to do?

"Joshua is a big man but he's musclebound and in the late rounds that will have an effect. As we've seen in a lot of Joshua's fights, when he's been in a proper fight, he has gassed out. Round six, seven and eight he has become sloppy and that's when I think Tyson will get him out of there."

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is glad "the truth has revealed itself" after Deontay Wilder admitted he turned down a big-money bout against the Briton prior to fighting Tyson Fury.

On Saturday, Wilder made a string of comments criticising Fury for ending his interest in a third fight against the American, condemning reports the WBC champion was pursuing a meeting with Carlos Takam instead.

During those remarks, Wilder said to Fury: "You know I was offered more money to fight Joshua than I was getting to fight you. Again being a man of my word, I fought you."

Negotiations for a huge unification fight between Joshua and Wilder never reached a breakthrough before the latter's first fight against Fury, which ended in a dramatic draw in December 2018.

WBA, WBO and IBF champion Joshua – who defends his titles against Kubrat Pulev next month – has often faced jibes he had dodged a fight against Wilder, who at that time held the WBC belt, but is relieved the record has been set straight.

"When time goes by, naturally the truth will always reveal itself," Joshua said to Sky Sports. "He admitted it. We made him a lucrative offer but he wanted to face Fury. 

"So be it. If that's what he wanted to do, fine. But he dragged my name through the mud.

"It's hard because at the time when people are talking and you see lots of media stuff, you start to believe what that person is saying. I get a lot of stick but I take it with a pinch of salt.

"While Wilder was trying to make me look like a bad person, that I didn't want to enhance the sport, or fight certain fighters, I just had to roll with the punches.

"He has come out and said it himself. We offered him a really good deal but he wanted to fight Fury. People can take it how they want and see what the truth is now."

Wilder was stopped by Fury in their February 2020 rematch and is contractually entitled to a third bout.

But Fury became frustrated by delays and plans to fight someone else on December 5, with Eddie Hearn calling for Dillian Whyte to be the opponent after his fight against Alexander Povetkin was postponed when the Russian tested positive for COVID-19.

Tyson Fury has no interest in fighting Dillian Whyte next month, promoter Frank Warren said on Wednesday, rebuffing a bold bid to make the all-British showdown happen.

The prospect of the heavyweight clash taking place was raised by Eddie Hearn, after Alexander Povetkin came down with COVID-19 and was forced to pull out of a November 21 rematch with Whyte.

There are hopes that the postponed Povetkin-Whyte ring battle will now go ahead in late January.

Hearn, as Whyte's promoter, said a fight with WBC champion Fury on December 5 was "a phone call away" as he made an ambitious move to thrust his man back into the international spotlight.

However, Warren has lined up Germany's Agit Kabayel as the man to take on Fury on that date at the Royal Albert Hall.

And while the paperwork had yet to be concluded when Warren spoke on Wednesday, it appears to be a matter of time before that fight is set.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Warren said: "We have in mind what we want to do next but it doesn't feature Dillian.

"He [Hearn] would be wasting his money. I don't get it."

Whyte and Povetkin had been preparing to meet for a second time, with the Russian having won by fifth-round knock-out in August.

"Correct me if I'm wrong," said Warren. "Didn’t Dillian Whyte get poleaxed in his last fight? That's it, he's lost his chance.

"With Tyson, we're working on Agit Kabayel, that's who we want for Tyson, that's our preferred opponent.

"It certainly won't be against Whyte, there's no gain in it. We don't need it, so it's not going to happen."

Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin has been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and his fight against Dillian Whyte has been postponed, promoter Eddie Hearn said.

Povetkin and Whyte were due to fight at Wembley Arena on November 21, but their clash has been provisionally moved to a January 30 date.

Hearn suggested Whyte should instead tackle British rival and WBC champion Tyson Fury before the end of the year.

Fury is planning a December 5 title defence and German fighter Agit Kabayel is his expected opponent, but Hearn tweeted: "Dillian Whyte v Tyson Fury anyone?"

The clash between Povetkin and Whyte was set to be a rematch following their dramatic August showdown, when Povetkin won with a fifth-round knockout, despite having been dominated and knocked down twice in the early stages of the fight.

Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "Unfortunately we got the news today that Alexander Povetkin is in hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.

"The fight will now be rescheduled to a target date of Jan 30. An announcement on our Nov 21 show will be made shortly."

Hearn added on Matchroom's website: "Firstly we want to wish Alexander Povetkin a speedy recovery.

"This is a challenging time for shows. There will be lots of ups and downs over the next few months. We look forward to the fight happening in late January."

Povetkin holds the WBC interim heavyweight title thanks to his previous win over Whyte.

Deontay Wilder demanded a rematch with Tyson Fury, calling for the WBC champion to honour his agreement for a blockbuster trilogy showdown.

A third Wilder-Fury clash has been touted after the latter stripped the American of the WBC title in February's rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas following a draw in the first fight in 2018.

Wilder (41-1-1) has the right to a third bout against British star Fury (30-0-1) but, although December 19 was suggested as a possible date, nothing has been finalised amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Fury announced in October that he had ended his interest in another rematch, while Wilder's co-manager denied claims his fighter no longer had a contractual clause for the bout, which would leave the former free to face Anthony Joshua instead.

A deal for two 2021 fights between Fury and Joshua, who regained the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles by beating Andy Ruiz in a rematch last December, was agreed in principle in June.

Wilder called out Fury via social media on Saturday, writing on Twitter: "Fury Be A Man. @Tyson_Fury it is time for you to be a man and honour your agreement. What is this bull**** of you fighting Carlos Takam instead of me, you got to be kidding…

"When that fight was a draw, I told you that I would give you a rematch. You know I was offered more money to fight Joshua than I was getting to fight you. Again being a man of my word, I fought you like I said I would…

"In the rematch agreement, there was a rematch clause. Now it is time for you to be a man and honour your word, instead of trying to weasel out of our agreement. Scared people run by a scary man will break his contract you coward Azz b****!"

Fury produced a seven-round demolition via TKO against Wilder, who suffered his first loss.

In the accompanying video, Wilder added: "I saw in the first fight when Ricky Hatton was pulling down your gloves to put your fists in the improper position. Y'all tried the same method the second time, but this time, you scratched flesh out of my ears which caused my ears to bleed.

"It's impossible for a brand-new 10-ounce glove to bend, to keep a smushed-in form or to have loose space. I highly believe you put something hard in your glove. Something the size and the shape of an egg weight.

"It's the reason the side of my face swelled up in the egg weight form and it left a dent in my face as well.

"But in the midst of all, you still couldn't keep this king down. You would have had to kill me. In the end, it took a crap-in-a-bucket referee and a disloyal trainer to throw the towel in just to stop me."

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