The heavyweight unification bout, all set for Saudi Arabia in August, has plunged into doubt after a judge ruled in the American’s favour and confirming he is entitled to a third fight with the WBC champion.
Fury and Wilder fought a split-decision draw in December 2018 in Los Angeles, before Fury won their second meeting by seventh-round stoppage in February last year in what proved to be his last action in the ring.
Attempts to secure a third fight were complicated by an injury to Wilder and an absence of available television dates, prompting Fury to move on based on the assumption that any agreement had expired.
The decision by an arbitrator, which can be legally binding, came just hours after Fury appeared to confirm his clash with Joshua would take place on 14 August.
While the decision would not necessarily scupper a Fury-Joshua deal, it would require Fury’s team to summon a substantial pay-off in order to convince Wilder to temporarily step aside.
And it would also seemingly scupper hopes that the deal struck by Fury and Joshua could include a clause for an immediate rematch between the pair.
Following the announcement of the arbitrator’s decision, Fury posted on his Instagram story with a message across a background photo of Wilder with new trainer Malik Scott.
“What a joke bronzebomber has become. Asked for 20 million to move over #joker,” Fury wrote in the post. “Looks like I have to crack his skull again.”
Fury had announced earlier this week that the unification clash was “100% on” for August 14, adding: “I cannot wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all time.”
“We can’t wait around,” Hearn said. “We had a deal in place with Tyson Fury and we were told the arbitration wouldn’t be an issue, that we could move on with this fight.
“They were wrong and that’s on them, that’s their responsibility and their problem. We hope they can solve that problem, but we have to look after ourselves and Anthony Joshua.
“We have to maintain the position of unified world champion, and those talks will continue and we want to be in a position by the end of this week to know, are we fighting Tyson Fury or are we moving forward with another option?”
Additional reporting by PA