US promoter Bob Arum has revealed that “there are no more issues” standing in the way of Anthony Joshua finally facing Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world as contract negotiations near finalisation.
The Top Rank founder, who is Fury’s US promoter with Frank Warren overseeing the boxer’s affairs in the UK, believes the contest will s0on be finalised and that both teams are working co-operatively towards the mega-fight which is expected to deliver 100m pounds to each of the protagonists.
“Yeah as far as I am concerned,” Arum told iFL TV’s Youtube channel. “I’ve been working on it; all the points have been agreed to.
“All the points have been agreed to, that’s what both sides have said. Now we’re scrambling around to get things signed but I can say that clearly, based on my view, there are no more issues.”
I understand that contracts are still to be agreed on both sides by the respective teams of lawyers, with discussions still going ahead over the likely venues and countries which could be involved in hosting the contest between Fury, the WBC champion, and Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
Fury disclosed to me in an exclusive interview some days ago that he had hoped to have the fight signed by the end of February this year, but the deadline has passed. Nonetheless, there appears to be optimism on all sides that the richest fight in British boxing history will proceed this summer.
The secondary issue is the television company that will be involved, with Sky Sports and BT Sport in the UK, plus DAZN and ESPN in America, all having deals with both fighters at present.
The winner will become the first heavyweight champion to hold all the belts in boxing’s blue riband division since Lennox Lewis was undisputed champion 22 years ago.
The first fight is still likely to be staged outside the UK in June or July, with the Middle East “an aggressive” favourite to host the contest, according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn. Saudi Arabia is the front runner having hosted Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
Joshua and Fury agreed financial terms last year for a two-fight deal with both champions earning 50 per cent of the purse for the first blockbuster fight. The winner, it is then agreed, is set to claim 60 per cent of the purse for a rematch, with plans to host it in the UK, after the easement of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Joshua had added cryptically on Sunday, on a JD Sports live stream: “June should be the date. Trust me. For the fans, for the people that have been calling it on for many, many months. Shoutout to Fury and his team as well, hungry go-getters, that’s what we are. UK stand up. And to the world – we’re bringing it. I can’t wait. Undisputed.”