Eddie Hearn has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will host the heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, but hurdles remain before the fight ends.
Options have been considered across three continents, but Hearn has now verified the open secret that the mega-rich desert state has entered the fight, with a date of August 7 or August 14.
The site fee will be around £ 107 million and Sportsmail understands that the city of Jeddah is the preferred choice, although there are still complications that need to be ironed out in the deal.
Anthony Joshua’s showdown with Tyson Fury (R) has been confirmed for August 7 or 14, says promoter Eddie Hearn
Hearn said the epic fight will take place in Saudi Arabia as he backed the ‘fantastic’ organizers
Not the least of which is the situation surrounding Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken, who is also the performance director of the British boxing team that will compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo between July 23 and August 8.
No conclusive explanation has yet been given for how he can juggle those commitments, including the major final stages of Joshua’s training camp, unless the ever-shifting date is pushed further from August.
“I think it is a very bad secret that the fight is taking place in Saudi Arabia,” said Hearn. ‘To be honest, I don’t mind giving you that information. Bob Arum [Fury’s US promoter] has already done it.
August 7 or 14 will be the date. The Olympics will end on August 7, of course, so in terms of a global spectacle, it would make sense to go on the 14th. That’s one of the things we’ll have to tick off in the next, hopefully, few days.
Joshua’s successful rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr took place in Saudi Arabia in 2019
Hearn said Joshua was ‘comfortable’ with Saudi Arabia’s offer having previously worked with them
Hearn added, “We are in a phase where people are getting frustrated. The deal is done.
‘Now we are working on the details of the contract, which came back last Friday. It went back last night. They now have calls about it in the office and I think people will have to make a bit of a leap of faith in this deal at some point.
‘From our perspective and from AJ’s perspective, we are ready. From Tyson Fury’s perspective, they have a few attorneys from their point.
There’s no reason it shouldn’t be happening this week. This is a bit like when you could actually turn around at this point and say, “This is dragging on for too long, or I can’t handle it anymore.”
‘But we need to address this, and I’m not going to stop until I get it right, and everyone just needs to move forward collectively.
‘We are ready to leave our side. We are not far from their side and it is inevitable, but at the same time we have to close the door on it. ‘
Talks have been held with a number of parties in the Middle East to organize future money-turning fights following the success of Joshua vs Ruiz Jr.
Hearn revealed that the clash will be hosted by the same group that orchestrated Joshua’s 2019 rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr – which took place in Diriyah.
The fight was deeply questioned as the weeks went on without any official announcement – with Fury and his promoters Arum and Frank Warren all doubting it would take place.
This week, Warren said Fury was unhappy with his contract and would not sign it in its current state, while Arum declared the fight “ dead in the water ” last month as Hearn frantically tried to secure a site deal.
Fury has questioned his feud with Joshua, while also turning on his rival on social media
Anthony Joshua told his rival he was getting tired of the lack of progress in the talks about his fight
JOSHUA V FURY ODDS
Tyson Fury wins: 4/7
Anthony Joshua wins: 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 end?
To be beaten
Anthony Joshua: 5/4
Tyson Fury: 5/4
All odds thanks to Betfair
And Joshua himself waded in the back-and-forth words saying he wanted ‘less talk, more action from Fury’, after the Gypsy King’s rant about the Watford-born hunter on social media – who described himself as a ‘spartan’, while calling Joshua a ‘big bum dossier’.
Fury claimed he would stop on his stool if Joshua made it past three rounds with him in their fight, leading to harsh words from the four-tire world champion.
“Spartan,” he wrote on Twitter, addressing Fury. ‘I’m tired. My fans are tired. Your fans are tired. We are all tired of talking. Talk less. More action! ‘
Previously, Warren had admitted there were a few ‘bumps’ to sort out before the deal could be handled properly, telling SecondsOut: ‘You can only sign a contract when all parties agree,’ said the promoter.
‘And we currently have a contract on which all parties disagree. We currently have a contract that Tyson Fury is unwilling to sign.
‘One of the things in that contract that will help us get over the bump is the guarantees. If the guarantees are there, that’s no problem.
That’s where it is. I’m not heading for where the fight will take place, who those negotiations are with, because it’s all moot at this point.
Until we agree on the terms, until Tyson Fury – who we’re with – until he’s happy with the terms, it won’t be signed. And he is not happy at the moment. ‘
But despite all the uncertainty, Hearn has always believed that the fight would lead this summer and that both sides agreed.
Earlier this month, he hit back at Arum’s ‘death in the water’ jibe and insisted the fight was ‘on’ and ‘happening’.
Promoter Frank Warren revealed that Fury will not sign the contract on the current terms
It won’t be Fury’s first fight in Saudi Arabia after making a WWE appearance in the country
Hearn was under tremendous pressure to get the fight done, but has always insisted it would go on
‘This fight is on, this fight is on. As I told everyone last week, back and forth with the trip.
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 is now being recognized by the other side, which is nice.’
It was rumored that an official announcement would come after Canelo Alvarez’s victory over Billy Joe Saunders in Dallas on Saturday night, but Hearn said they weren’t quite in the right position – admitting lawyers were still bulging 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.
“But that fight is over and you will get an announcement very soon.”