It’s the news that British boxing fans have been eagerly anticipating….Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua will finally meet to unify the heavyweight division.
You’ll have to wait until August to watch the action unfold, with both the seventh and fourteenth of that month pencilled in, and sadly you won’t be able to watch the fight in person.
Why? Because Eddie Hearn, the sport’s evil overlord, has decided that Saudi Arabia deserves to host one of the biggest fights in contemporary boxing instead. This will be the first time that two Brits have contested all four of the heavyweight straps in a single scrap, with Lennox Lewis – sans the WBO belt – the closest Britain has come to an undisputed heavyweight champion in more than two decades.
Hearn has now confirmed that the bout will go ahead this summer after it had been rumoured that negotiations between the two parties had broken down.
Fury’s US based promoter, Bob Arum, had suggested that the fight would not take place in 2021 after claiming talks were ‘dead in the water’, and that prompted the ‘Gypsy King’ – in typically eloquent fashion – to label Joshua a ‘big ugly dosser’ on Twitter.
come get some then you big ugly Dosser???? YOUR NO TALK NO ACTION. pic.twitter.com/5x942s4OQd
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) May 11, 2021
An Eastern Promise?
The British duo will get to settle their differences in the ring, but not at Wembley Stadium or in any other arena on UK soil – even though Boris Johnson has confirmed that spectators can return to outdoor sporting events from May 17.
Instead, both camps will be forced to travel around the world to Saudi Arabia, a country that has been accused of attempting to ‘sportswash’ over its questionable human rights record by throwing money at high-profile sporting events in recent years.
The irony of one of the biggest British bouts in decades, which will crown the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, in the Middle East seems to have been lost on everyone.
Saudi Arabia hosted Anthony Joshua’s rematch victory over Andy Ruiz in 2019, which took place in the country’s capital Riyadh. And that, according to Hearn, was one of the factors behind the decision to host the contest there.
“It’s a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia,” the Matchroom supremo said.
“We’re very comfortable. Anthony’s comfortable, he knows those people. They delivered on every one of their promises last time. We’re ready to go.”
The actual date is yet to be confirmed. The Olympic Games run until August 8, if they go ahead as planned, and it is believed that Hearn wants to avoid any potential crossover by opting for August 14, rather than the seventh as originally scheduled.
Reports suggest that Fury and Joshua have inked a two-fight deal, which would presumably mean that a rematch will take place in late 2021 or early 2022 regardless of the outcome of the first fight – another Hearn masterstroke.