The all-British world heavyweight title showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury has moved a step closer, according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
Hearn told ESPN that both parties have signed a two-fight deal which will see them put their respective belts on the line in back-to-back showdowns.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at the potential consequences of the announcement including when, where, how and who.
It is a significant development, but don’t book your big fight tickets just yet. Fury’s side are yet to confirm their satisfaction with the alleged deal, and further negotiations will be necessary before a date and venue are can be set in stone. Throw in Fury’s notorious unpredictability – only at the weekend was he claiming the fight was “nowhere near” and that he was subsisting on 12 pints of lager per day – and, of course, the vagaries of a global pandemic, and the showdown still seems a long way off.
Negotiations had advanced on the basis that the pair would split proceeds 50-50 from their first fight, with the victor taking a 60-40 cut for the rematch. Joshua’s WBA, IBF and WBO belts, and Fury’s WBC title, will be on the line, politics permitting. It has been estimated that each man could earn more than £50million from their first fight alone.
Not Britain. Hearn claims up to nine venues have expressed an interest in staging the all-British contest, but nowhere in the UK could come close to stumping up the gigantic site fee that would entail. Inevitably the focus falls on the United States and the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia probably favourite having already staged Joshua’s rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019. With a live audience nowhere near as crucial a factor in the Kingdom, it could shrug off the losses incurred by any prospective coronavirus restrictions, something which would keep prospective American hosts sweating, considering the desire to push through the first fight this summer.
Based on their most recent outings alone, Fury must start as favourite. He bashed Wilder into submission, while Joshua merely did what was required of him in dispatching Ruiz second time round, followed by Kubrat Pulev. But Fury brings with him that self-proclaimed drinking binge and – assuming no time for warm-up fights – inactivity stretching back to February last year. There are too many imponderables at this stage to make an educated judgement either way, and that, of course, is part of what gives this fight its appeal.