ANTHONY JOSHUA vs Tyson Fury is the fight EVERY boxing fan wants to see – so just when will these two Brit superstars get it on in the ring?
Both are coming off big victories, and 2021 should be the year they finally meet face-to-face in the squared circle.
Joshua vs Fury – when will it happen?
According to multiple players close to the deal – this summer.
During the summer of 2020, news had spread that the pair verbally agreed to terms on a two-fight deal for 2021, providing the pair could skate through their next challenges unscathed.
Joshua held up his end of the bargain by knocking out Kubrat Pulev, while Fury looks like he's managed to escape a trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, has repeatedly touted 'late May, early June 2021' as a rough date for the mega-bout.
And just last week, the Essex-born promoter admitted he thought the deal was 'four weeks' away from being signed.
Joshua vs Fury – where will it take place?
Sorry British boxing fans – but Wembley Stadium in London looks to be completely off the cards, at least for the first fight anyway.
Ideally, all parties involved with making Joshua vs Fury will want as many fans as possible in attendance to capitalise on a likely huge and historic gate.
The coronavirus pandemic has kept fans out of British boxing arenas since March 2020, apart from the 1,000 that were allowed to watch Joshua vs Pulev on December 12.
The UK is still in a lockdown, with the situation to be reviewed in mid-February, so it's looking unlikely that 90,000 fans will be allowed into any venues come early summer.
As for venues abroad… Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Singapore, Australia and the U.S. all look to be viable options.
It's now just about which country stumps up the most money to host the fight. Saudi already have a good relationship with Hearn, Joshua and Matchroom, having hosted AJ's rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
Fury has also competed in Saudi, albeit in a WWE ring rather than a boxing one.
Joshua vs Fury – how much will they earn?
A lot. That's the simple answer. Both Joshua and Fury have already made upwards of £40million each for their respective fights with Ruiz Jr and Wilder.
So when they fight each other, expect the figures to be at last double that.
Hearn also spoke last week about how he expects the pair to make 'Mayweather money', referencing the grand purses Floyd used to pull in for his fights.
"It’s certainly I think, you know, the biggest fight, the most lucrative fight, in boxing right now – unquestionably," Hearn said.
“That’s Mayweather money. You know? And we haven’t seen Mayweather money since Mayweather.
"I think it’s impossible to give a number. There’s no set purses for this fight because, obviously, it’s a revenue share. But it’s certainly gonna break records everywhere.”
It's been speculated, however, that the pair could earn £80m each.
Joshua vs Fury – what hurdles are left to clear?
Back in the latter months of 2020, there were quite a few, but we look to be in a much stronger position right now.
First, Joshua had to beat Pulev, which he did emphatically with a 9th-round knockout.
Fury had been targeting a third fight with Wilder, but once that didn't come to fruition, an interim bout with Agit Kabayel has been planned – but that also fell through.
It seems Fury decided his best bet would be to wait it out until he can fight AJ.
One problem he has, however, is Wilder, who believes the clause he exercised to compete in a third fight hasn't been honoured.
Team Fury says the clause expired back in October, while Wilder's side have gone the legal route to get that trilogy rematch.
Neither Hearn nor Fury's American promoter Bob Arum expect there to be any way Wilder can win that case, and they expect Joshua vs Fury to happen.
There's also the WBO mandatory situation, and while not one that will prohibit the fight from happening, one that could affect which belts are on the line.
Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO's mandatory challenger, but earlier this week, a from Boxing Scene stated that a hurdle has been cleared in that respect, and that the WBO title WILL be on the line for Joshua Fury.
Expect Usyk to be handsomely paid in the meantime.
Joshua vs Fury – what channel will it be on in the UK?
This could be a tricky one.
Joshua has an exclusive deal with Sky Sports in the UK, and while Fury's deal with BT Sport isn't exclusive, he's closely aligned with them.
Fury, however, has fought on Sky Sports Box Office before, most notably for his world heavyweight title win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
Don't be surprised if the two sides come to an agreement where both Sky and BT decide to work together on a dual-broadcast.
In the U.S., the situation is also tricky.
Fury has an exclusive deal with ESPN, while Joshua's last four fights have been shown on streaming service DAZN in the U.S.
ESPN offer a pay-per-view service for their big fight nights while DAZN work on a subscription-based model, making a deal for the fight to be shown on both channels difficult.
Joshua vs Fury – what have they all said?
Joshua: “How close is the Fury fight? I promise you it’s happening.
“But until you hear it from me, don’t buy into anything. I’m serious about the fight so when I announce it you’ll know it’s real."
Fury: "I just got off the phone with [my trainer] Sugarhill Steward in America.
"We are going to smash AJ – one round, two rounds, three rounds. Done! Can't wait."
Hearn: "Both guys are training at the moment, you know, with the understanding that this will be the next fight for them.
"So, whilst we can’t say the fight is signed, we can say that we’re closing in and it looks like both fighters are happy with the terms."
Arum: “There’s no [Wilder] mediation. I mean, there has been over Christmas, and New Year, there was mediation
“I don’t know, maybe the mediator will be able to solve the situation, but we got a real problem because Tyson Fury has said to me and the mediator, ‘Not today, not tomorrow, and not ever’ will he ever fight Wilder after what Wilder said to him."
Warren: “But the fight, we are hoping to get it on and, if we are being realistic, it will be some time in May or June.
“I hope that in the next few weeks it is over the line. We are supposed to be getting some sort of draft agreement this week and it will be a two-fight deal.”
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