An August 14 date in Saudi Arabia had been agreed for the mega-fight, which would have seen an undisputed heavyweight champion crowned for the first time in the era of four major titles.
However, as is often the case in boxing, paperwork got in the way.
Former WBC champion Deontay Wilder went to arbitration court to enforce his contractual right for a third bout with Tyson Fury. When a judge ruled in Wilder's favour, Fury had little option but to abandon the Joshua fight and instead begin preparations for a trilogy clash with the American.
The next chapter in the Fury vs Wilder rivalry will take place on July 24 in Las Vegas - with Fury's WBC title on the line. Joshua, meanwhile, is expected to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO belts against mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk on home soil in September.
Boxing fans remain hopeful that the fight that the world wants to see can still be made for later this year, so long as both Fury and Joshua emerge victorious from their upcoming fights.
'The Gypsy King, though, seems to be in no rush to fight his countryman. The unbeaten 32-year-old spoke to Sky Sports about a potential fight with 'AJ' - and insisted Wilder was a more dangerous opponent than Joshua. Fury even went as far as to predict that 'The Bronze Bomber' would blast him out inside a round if they ever met in the ring.
"I’ll deal with these guys later – the most important thing to me is Wilder, the most dangerous heavyweight in the world who would knock out Joshua in the first round," Fury stated, as per Boxing247.
"I’ve got to get past Wilder then those guys will get their five minutes of fame. I’ll give them the biggest beatdown they have had in their lives. As I’ve told Eddie Hearn, the difference between me and them is they are businessmen and I’m a spartan."
Fury has long pushed the narrative that he is a true fighter, while Joshua simply competes for money. Of course, he will still be paid handsomely for his showdown with Wilder at the T-Mobile Arena, but by painting Joshua and Hearn as the villains of the piece, Fury is quietly planting seeds for an eventual meeting with his long-time rival.
There are no guarantees that both Fury and Joshua will still hold all the gold in the heavyweight division after their next contests. In Wilder and Usyk, they each face stiff tasks. Should Wilder defeat Fury to regain the WBC championship, expect Team Joshua to go all-out in an attempt to secure a unification bout with the American.
Joshua has made no secret of his desire to be the undisputed world heavyweight champion. At this point, he would no doubt prefer to achieve that feat against Fury. However, if he has to face Wilder in order to get the job done, then that likely will not phase the Londoner either.
If he loses to Wilder next month, we might just get to see whether Fury's prediction of a quick victory over Joshua actually becomes a reality.News Now - Sport News