It appears that unless the fight is signed by next week, the much-anticipated and richest fight in British boxing history may collapse
Concerns have surfaced in the last 24 hours over the final contract for the Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury mega-fight, after Fury’s two promoters expressed concerns final terms have not been sent out.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, who is driving the final negotiations for the undisputed heavyweight title fight in Saudi Arabia, has denied that there are fissures in the agreement.
But both Bob Arum and Frank Warren – Fury’s USA and UK promoters – have expressed concerns after Hearn had told the other side nine days ago – according to Arum – that a final contract was “24 hours away” for the £200 million mega-fight which is planned for July or August.
Complications with Covid-19 pushed the blockbuster contest towards the Middle East, originally ruled out Wembley Stadium due to crowd restrictions this summer. Telegraph Sport understands that if matters are not resolved by the end of this week, Fury’s team may move to organise another fight for the WBC champion this summer, which would push the Fury-Joshua fight towards November, or even early 2022, a huge blow to fight fans, and both fighters.
Fury, who has not fought since February 2020, is currently in training camp in Las Vegas, having gone there two weeks ago. Joshua, who defended his IBF, WBA and WBO belts in London in December 2020, against Kubrat Pulev, has also begun training.
On Tuesday, Las Vegas-based Arum flew by private jet with Fury to an arbitration session in California, to attend a mediation session in a proposed third bout between Fury and Deontay Wilder, against whom Fury won the WBC heavyweight crown 14 months ago. Wilder’s team have claimed a trilogy fight is binding, although the contracted period, Arum has claimed, ran out last year, during Covid-19 restrictions.
“If I had to bet whether the Tyson Fury versus Anthony Joshua fight would happen or not, I would say no,” said promoter Arum told The Ring magazine. “As far as I can see this whole thing with Eddie and (a Fury vs AJ fight in Saudi Arabia) is just a mirage.”
Arum has surmised that Hearn is feeling the heat because his deal with AJ is soon to expire. “Eddie is desperate, he has one more fight with AJ, and he wants it to be the fight against Fury. But if a fight against Tyson is delayed, to the winter, then AJ has to fight Oleksandr Usyk, and that’s not that big a fight. Eddie is a desperado here.”
Hearn has denied this, explaining that the “long form site agreement” is taking longer than expected, and has urged patience from the other side. Another issue which has arisen is whether Joshua will be affected by his head trainer Robert McCracken overseeing the Great Britain squad at the Tokyo Olympics at the same time as the proposed dates.
Hearn insisted to Sky Sports this week that he will not stop “to get the fight over the line”, that he is “a one-man army going out to try and make this fight”, and that Fury’s team “is about 40 people” to deal with, although that has been denied by Frank Warren – (“it’s Bob, me and Tyson’s lawyer, Robert Davis”).
But time is clearly running out and it appears that unless the fight is signed by next week, the much-anticipated and richest fight in British boxing history may collapse for now, and be further delayed. In that case, Fury would likely fight Wilder for the third time, and Joshua would face his mandatory WBO challenger Oleksandr Usyk. The blockbuster fight looks on a knife edge at present, with the clock ticking.