Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and why it’s time in 2021 for boxing to just make the fights that matter

There is great demand for Joshua to meet Fury in 2021

The brutal truth is that there will be a damaging defection, especially if the Olympics fails to happen. If the Olympics happens, with eight men and five women all reaching the Games after the qualifying event in London in April, the squad will win ten medals and that is impressive currency in the pro game. The GB squad has the resources to survive an unprecedented exodus of talent. The flip side is that the professional game needs this talent for 2025.

Professional boxing in Britain is a maddening business to work in, a business with dubious morals, high standards of competition, a toxicity to rival Chernobyl, a mountain of excuses from some of the finest operators in the sporting world and no calendar of events. I wish we had a Wimbledon, an FA Cup, the darts at Ally Pally, snooker in Sheffield – instead, we have a blank canvas each January and we give the colouring crayons over to a dozen independents and they can do whatever the hell they like.

They can match Liverpool against Dulwich Hamlet and tell us Manchester United wanted too much money and we accept it. “It’s the way our business works,” we mutter, often with delusional pride. Also, and this is often forgotten too easily, boxers listen to fools and price themselves out of the fights they insist they want. What a workplace, it’s a nuthouse.

Hopefully, in 2021 there will be more of the fights we want, the fights the boxers want, the crowds back in glory and a revolution in truth on the outside of the ropes – not quite transparency, but some good, sound reasons why fights have failed to happen. I’m sick of lies.

Ryan Garcia started the year in style with a seventh-round knockout of Luke Campbell

Thankfully, the boxing has started with an early treat and it was a good year for British boxing for about six minutes on Saturday night in Dallas when Luke Campbell dropped Ryan Garcia in round two; Garcia, a suave kid, survived, showed guts, thrilled and alarmed his 8m online horde and knocked Campbell out in round seven. Bad year early for Luke, nine years after gold in London 2012.

Meanwhile, the Garcia win might just lead to some truly great fights for belts of varying tackiness and authenticity at lightweight with Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney. However, the real battle, fight, struggle and frustration this year will be behind closed doors when men and women with perfect faces, voices, teeth and memories play boxing monopoly with fighter’s desires and the wishes of fans. Joshua and Fury is only the biggest fight in the capricious hands of too many people, with too many conflicting ambitions.

The motto for 2021 is simple: Just get the fights done.

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