The heavyweight titleholder had said a proposed defense against his British rival on Dec. 3 was no longer in play and that he would fight Mahmoud Charr instead after Joshua missed a Monday deadline to sign on the dotted line.
However, Fury said he could have the rest of Thursday to finalize the deal. Of course, he could change his mind again.
“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, according to Sky Sports.
Fury went on: “So the deadline was Monday. 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.”
And, finally, he added: “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.”
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told Sky Sports he’s confused by Fury’s latest deadline.
“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,” Hearn said. “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.”
Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) was expected to face Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship after the Ukrainian defeated Joshua in consecutive fights. However, Usyk indicated that he won’t fight until next year and Fury didn’t want to wait.
That’s why he turned to Joshua, who remains an attractive opponent in spite of his setbacks. A Fury-Joshua showdown might be the biggest fight in British boxing history from a business standpoint.
This story first appeared Thursday at Boxing Junkie.