Tyson Fury was close to agreeing a showdown with Carlos Takam before pulling the plug on the fight, according to the French heavyweight’s promoter.
Fury was due to defend his WBC heavyweight belt for the first time against German fighter Agit Kabayel in December before he postponed his comeback until 2021.
But Takam’s promoter Joe DeGuardia has suggested that a fight with Takam was “98 per cent done” until the Gypsy King called off negotiations.
“We really wanted that fight,” DeGuardia told Sky Sports. “We thought it would be a great fight for Carlos and a good fight for boxing, and I thought it would fit well. We’re disappointed.
“I think he knew he would have a tough fight with Carlos, a guy who has got a lot of experience and a risky fight, and instead opted for the guy who had the optics of being undefeated, but not as difficult as Carlos would be.
“He [Takam] was 100 per cent confident. He clearly thought that he was going to win.
“He was training very hard and was very much looking forward to the fight. I think we were at I would say 98 per cent done [in negotiations] and then it just changed in one day.
“Not necessarily with Fury, we were done with every other aspect, and maybe Fury’s team probably didn’t want Carlos for the reasons we just discussed, I would imagine.”
It would not have been the first time Takam took on British opposition, having been drafted in to face Anthony Joshua in October 2017.
Takam stepped up when Kubrat Pulev was ruled out with a shoulder injury and lasted 10 rounds before a controversial stoppage ensured victory for Joshua.
He was given just 12 days to prepare for that fight but would have had considerably more time ahead of the bout with Fury.