Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have signed a two-fight deal for their long-awaited world heavyweight title unification, according to Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn.
A venue for the two bouts is set to be confirmed “within the next month”, Hearn told ESPN. “The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line. You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters.”
“This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” Hearn added. “It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself. We’ve already had approaches from eight or nine sites. The offers have come from multiple countries in the Middle East, from Asia, Eastern Europe and America.”
Hearn’s announcement comes just four days after Fury claimed the fight was “nowhere near” being finalised, and that he was not training and drinking up to 12 pints of lager a day. “Until I’ve got a date and a load of money in my pocket, there’s no fight,” Fury told iFL TV last week.
“There’s a lot of things going on that people don’t know behind the scenes that can scupper a fight like that. We are nowhere near at the moment,” Fury added. “I’ve stopped training now, I’m on holiday. I’m doing anything between eight to 12 pints of lager a day at the minute. I’m not eating though, so I’m just getting my calories through alcohol.”
Both Hearn and Fury’s promoter, Bob Arum, have hinted in recent weeks that a deal for the fight was close – but Arum claimed over the weekend that the Covid-19 pandemic was still a hurdle to be overcome.
“Listen, if I could wave a wand and end the pandemic, wouldn’t I do it? We’re all on the same page, Eddie’s on the same page,” Arum told Boxingscene. “Everybody is stuck in the same thing, the coronavirus. Nobody is going to put up money while the virus will impact spectators and everything.”
The 89-year-old promoter also offered a stinging rebuke to impatient fans. “You know what I say? Go fuck yourself. Find a life. We’re all dealing with a fraught situation that is none of our fault. [Fury] is impatient. He’s a fighter. He wants a date. We all want that. It is what it is. There are no villains here other than the pandemic.”
Joshua is the reigning WBA (Super), IBF and WBO champion after regaining his belts against Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019. Fury is the current WBC world champion after beating Deontay Wilder in their rematch in February 2020.