The mega-fight between rival heavyweight kings Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua is inching towards a deal with four bidders in the Middle East in the running to stage the bout in June or early July, according to AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
With Fury’s WBC belt and Joshua’s WBA ‘Super’, WBO and IBF crowns on the line, the showdown is expected to be worth around £200 million, even without a stadium of fans in attendance due to current Covid-19 restrictions.
Inevitably, that climate is pushing Fury-Joshua towards the cash-rich elements of the Middle East with bidders in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai all believed to be in the race to stage the gargantuan heavyweight clash.
“We expect the fight to take place in June. I wouldn’t rule out early July but June is where we want to be. Our plan is to start to go to various sites and close the deal,” Hearn told The Sun.
“We have offers coming in every day from loads of places. We don’t want to waste our time seeing what is real and isn’t real until the fight is signed. End of February is a good marker to get it done and finalise a venue.
“We have actually had four offers from the Middle East now so you’d have to say there’s a very good chance of the fight taking place there. The offers from Saudi aren’t in the hope they can generate X million at the gate. It’s government-backed to bring the biggest fight in the world to their territory.
“We get multiple offers from the same country because everyone wants to make money out of this. But there are four offers from within the Middle East.
“We’ve had the contracts back from Top Rank. Nothing major, just some minor bits and pieces that have to be discussed with both parties. All moving in the right direction.
“When we put the contract together it took time because we were trying to work to a contract that wouldn’t come back with hundreds of comments and it didn’t. There are still minor details to iron out but we have Top Rank’s comments and are working through those now.”
Once the more pressing details of the deal are finalised, Fury and Joshua will then jostle to agree who is the ‘A-side’ on the official poster and promotional materials, as well as who walks out last on fight night.
“Jokes aside, that’s not something that will necessarily be solved in one phone call. But it will be a discussion point over the next week or so,” added Hearn. “I can’t imagine a Zoom coin flip. It’s better to paper it and discuss it and come to an amicable agreement.
“For me, AJ is the bigger draw globally. But, again, we are not interested in a debate where the fight falls apart because of things like that. We just need to box that off. In any unification fight this is always a conversation that can be arduous.”