Listening to the two camps involved in the negotiations for the heavyweight championship unification between WBO, IBF and WBA champion Anthony Joshua and WBC champ Tyson Fury, the fight is either a done deal or completely dead. While Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn has repeatedly insisted that only the final details of site fees in Saudi Arabia are required, Fury promoter Bob Arum has said the fight has nearly no chance of happening in 2021 after initial plans of a summer showdown.
“It will take months for the Saudis to do their due diligence on such a huge deal,” Arum told The Telegraph. “It is not just a site fee, there are ancillary demands from the Saudis stretching into the broadcast deals and other things, it could take months for it all to play out. It could even take until 2022 the way it looks right now.
“The fight in July or August is dead in the water as far as we are concerned. The two fighters need to go and have other fights this summer while the negotiations for that fight in the Middle East conclude.”
While Hearn has insisted the bout is “in a great place” and that it “won’t be long” until the fight is made official, week after week has passed and doubt has crept in to the minds of many in the boxing community. Reports also surfaced that the fight had secured a $150 million site fee in Saudi Arabia, meaning a huge payday for both men.
Fury’s attention could even be returning to a third fight with Deontay Wilder. The two battled to a draw in 2018 before Fury dominated the rematch, winning by seventh-round TKO. The contract for the fight included a clause guaranteeing the loser the option to initiate a rematch, which Wilder did, only for Fury to move on when no progress was made toward bringing the bout to life in 2020 amid the pandemic.
All the while, Wilder has launched into odd conspiracy theories on social media, accusing Fury of having illegally doctoring his gloves, blaming his elaborate walkout costume for his poor performance and even suggesting that a member of his own team had effectively worked against him in the fight. Wilder and Fury have both been inactive since the February 2020 clash and Arum said his fighter is not willing to remain inactive.
“He can’t stand to be out of the ring any longer,” Arum told The Athletic. “This is not good for a fighter.”