Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will FINALLY lock horns in Saudi Arabia on August 7 or 14, confirms Eddie Hearn… but there are still hurdles to jump amid fears the summer bout could clash with the Olympics
- Eddie Hearn has confirmed a date for Anthony Joshua’s fight vs Tyson Fury
- Their undisputed clash will take place on August 7 or 14 in Saudi Arabia
- Hearn backed the ‘fantastic’ group who organised Joshua’s rematch with Ruiz Jr
Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will stage the heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, but hurdles remain before the fight is finalised.
Options had been considered across three continents, but Hearn has now verified the open secret that the mega-rich desert state has landed the bout, with a date of either August 7 or August 14.
The site fee will be in the region of £107million, and Sportsmail understands the city of Jeddah is preferred, though there are still complications to iron out in the deal.
Not the least of which is the situation around Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken, who is also the performance director of the British boxing team that will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics between July 23 and August 8.
No convincing explanation has yet been offered for how he can juggle those obligations, including the key final stages of Joshua’s training camp, unless the ever-shifting date is pushed back further from August.
‘I think it’s a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia,’ Hearn said. ‘To be honest with you, I don’t mind giving you that information. Bob Arum [Fury’s US promoter] has already done it.
‘August 7 or 14 is going to be the date. Of course you’ve got the Olympics finishing on August 7, so in terms of a global spectacle, it would make sense to go on the 14th. That’s one of the things to tick off in the next, hopefully, few days.
Hearn added: ‘We’re in a stage where people are getting frustrated. The deal is done.
‘Now we’re on the finer details of the contract, which came back last Friday. It went back last night. They are on calls now in the office about it, and I think at some point people are going to have to take a little bit of a leap of faith in this deal.
‘From our perspective and AJ’s perspective, we’re ready to go. From Tyson Fury’s perspective, they’ve got a couple of lawyers across it from their point.
‘There’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen this week. This is kind of like the moment where you could actually turn around at this point and say, “This is dragging on too long, or I can’t be dealing with this anymore
‘But we have to nail this, and I’m not going to stop until I nail it, and everyone has just got to move forward collectively.
‘We’re ready to go from our side. We’re not far away from their side and it is inevitable, but at the same time, we’ve got to close the door on it.’
Tyson Fury shows off blistering speed during Joshua fight trainingLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PlayCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:18Fullscreen
Hearn revealed the clash will be organised by the same group who orchestrated Joshua’s rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 – which took place in Diriyah.
There had been huge question marks over the fight as the weeks dragged on without any official announcement – with Fury and his promoters Arum and Frank Warren all pouring doubt over whether it would take place.
This week Warren said Fury was unhappy with his contract and would not be signing it in its current state, while Arum last month declared the bout ‘dead in the water’ while Hearn frantically attempted to sign off a site deal.
JOSHUA V FURY ODDS
Tyson Fury to win: 4/7
Anthony Joshua to win: 11/8
Method of victory
Anthony Joshua on points: 11/2
Anthony Joshua knockout: 5/2
Tyson Fury on points: 15/8
Tyson Fury knockout: 9/4
Will the fight go the distance?
To be knocked down
Anthony Joshua: 5/4
Tyson Fury: 5/4
And Joshua himself waded into the back-and-forth words as he said he wanted ‘less talk, more action from Fury’, after the Gypsy King’s tirade about the Watford-born fighter on social media – describing himself as a ‘spartan’, while calling Joshua a ‘big bum dosser’.
Fury claimed he would quit on his stool if Joshua made it past three rounds with him in their fight, prompting stern words from the four-belt world champion.
‘Spartan,’ he wrote on Twitter as he addressed Fury. ‘I’m tired. My fans are tired. Your fans are tired. We’re all tired of the talk. Less talk. More action!’
Previously Warren had admitted there were a few ‘humps’ to sort out before the deal could be properly thrashed out, telling SecondsOut: ‘You can only sign a contract when all the parties agree on it,’ the promoter said.
And we’ve got a contract at the moment that all the parties don’t agree on. We’ve got a contract at the moment that Tyson Fury will not sign.
‘One of the things in that contract that will enable us to get over the hump is the guarantees. If the guarantees are there, then it’s not a problem.
‘That’s where it is. I’m not going down the road of where the fight’s going to take place, who those negotiations are with because it’s all moot at the moment.
‘Until we agree the terms, until Tyson Fury – which is who we’re with – until he’s happy with the terms it won’t get signed. And he’s not happy at the moment.’
But through all the uncertainty, Hearn has always been adamant that the fight would go head this summer and that it had been agreed by both parties.
Earlier this month he hit back at Arum’s ‘dead in the water’ jibe and insisted the bout was ‘on’ and ‘happening’.
‘This fight is on, this fight is happening. As I told everyone last week, back and forwards with the drafts.
‘I saw Bob Arum’s comments, ‘The fight is dead’. I don’t know where that came from.
‘We know what we’re doing and that’s now been acknowledged by the other side, which is nice.’
It was rumoured that there would be an official announcement after Canelo Alvarez’ win over Billy Joe Saunders in Dallas on Saturday night, but Hearn said they weren’t quite in the right position – admitting lawyers were still thrashing out the terms.
‘Fury is on board, AJ is on board, they’ve all signed the site agreement, but it’s a lot of money,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately I can’t just tell the lawyers to hurry up.