Frank Warren says the deal had long been agreed in principle but insists nothing has been signed nor have dates and venues been confirmed
Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have struck a two-fight deal for what could be the biggest bouts in British boxing history, according to promoter Eddie Hearn although his rival, Frank Warren, insisted there were still many obstacles to clear before the blockbusters could go ahead.
The first of the historic fights could be staged in Saudi Arabia next year, despite criticism over Joshua staging his last contest there. Joshua regained his World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organisation heavyweight titles in Riyadh in December by outpointing Andy Ruiz in their rematch while Fury dethroned Deontay Wilder in February to become World Boxing Council champion.
The British pair now hold all four major belts in boxing’s blue riband division and speculation of a unification bout to determine the undisputed world heavyweight champion has been steadily building in recent months.
Joshua’s promoter, Hearn, said the fighters were on the same page with regards to the financial terms of both bouts.
“We’re making great progress,” he told Sky Sports News. “There is still a lot to overcome. We are looking at venues and dates. It’s fair to say [Joshua and Fury] are in agreement regarding the financial terms of the fight.
“The most difficult part of any deal is the financial element. I believe we’re in a great place where both guys have agreed to what that should be.
“The main positive news is that Joshua and Fury have agreed to a two-fight deal, in essence. The point of Fury, Joshua and the teams agreeing to the structure of the deal? The first fight could happen next summer. It will be 2021.”
But Warren urged caution. “It’s a 50-50 deal and a rematch included,” he said. That’s been agreed all the way through, from the very start – that’s common sense. Everyone agrees that’s what it’s got to be. But the rest of it? Nothing is agreed.
“Things are going in the right direction and we couldn’t be more happy that a potential mega fight is in reach.”
Joshua must first overcome mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev once boxing gets the green light to resume.
Fury is contractually obliged to face Wilder for a third time. Fury said: “I’m just after getting off the phone with Daniel Kinahan.He’s just informed me that the biggest fight in British boxing history has just been agreed.
“Big shout-out Dan, he got this done, literally over the line, two-fight deal, Tyson Fury versus Anthony Joshua next year. “One problem, I’ve just got to smash Deontay Wilder’s face right in in the next fight and then we’re going to the Joshua fight next year.
Kinahan, a sometimes controversial figure during his time as a Dublin businessman, has in recent years become involved in boxing promotions, founding the MTK management company in 2012. MTK currently represents Fury while Kinahan is the boxer’s adviser although Kinahan is no longer involved with MTK.
The situation over the two-fight deal could be complicated further by Dillian Whyte, who the WBC has said must fight for its title before the end of February next year.
Hearn added: “We have not signed contracts because there are still things to be worked out. We’re pushing towards a place where they can be drafted, for 2021.
“We’ve been talking to MTK, giving them the assurances from Joshua’s side that all the details on the structure of the deal is approved from our side. And it is from Fury’s side, as well.
“We have the Dillian Whyte mandatory which is due before this fight.
“But both guys are in agreement. The structure of the deal has been put forward, and agreed to by both parties. There is a model in place that both parties are happy with.
“It’s the biggest fight ever in British boxing. It doesn’t get bigger, and there will never be a bigger fight in our generation.”