What Next for Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua after Promoter says £200m Mega Fight is Dead in the Water?
Tyson Fury's promoter in the United States, Bob Arum, stated on Thursday night that the heavyweight's £200 million megafight with Anthony Joshua this summer is "dead in the water."
The fierce rivals were expected to fight for the undisputed heavyweight title in July or August, with Saudi Arabia reportedly offering £107 million to host what would be the richest fight in British boxing history.
However, after Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn stated on Thursday that the fight is finalized, Arum told the Telegraph Sport that due to delays in negotiations, both boxers will have to face alternative opponents.
"It will take months for the Saudis to do their due diligence on such a large deal," Arum explained. "It is not just a site fee; the Saudis have ancillary demands that extend into broadcast deals and other areas, and it could take months for it all to play out. According to current projections, it could even take until 2022.
"As far as we are concerned, the fight in July or August is over. While the negotiations for that fight in the Middle East are finalized, the two fighters must go and fight in other fights this summer."
Arum also stated that he and Fury's UK promoter Frank Warren are "on the same page" regarding the fight.
"It's absurd what Hearn is saying that it's a done deal," Arum said from Las Vegas, where the 'Gypsy King' Fury is training. "We would have had a fight by now if we had just done a site deal without all the other complications that have arisen.
"Tyson Fury is enraged about it and refuses to wait any longer."
Arum and Fury are scheduled to attend the Kentucky Derby this weekend, with the nonagenarian promoter being invited by the owners of the horse 'King Fury,' who is competing in the elite horse racing event.
Concerns had surfaced in the last 24 hours about the final contract for the Joshua-Fury blockbuster, with conflicting information emerging from the two fighters' camps.
Both Arum and Warren, Fury's promoters in the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed concern that final terms had not been sent out after Hearn told them nine days ago - according to Arum - that a final contract was "24 hours away" for a fight to take place in the Middle East on July 24, July 31, or August 7.
Hearn explained this week that the "long form site agreement" is taking longer than expected and urged patience. He insisted that he will not stop "to get the fight over the line," that he is "a one-man army going out to try and make this fight," and that Fury's team "is about 40 people" to deal with, despite the fact that Frank Warren ("it's Bob, me, and Tyson's lawyer, Robert Davis") has denied this.
Hearn made the conflict between the parties clear on Thursday when he said: "We last communicated on Friday of last week and Thursday of this week. We haven't spoken in two weeks, Arum said in an interview, but he told the world it was a done deal five days ago. I believe he is attempting to apply pressure. We're a couple of days later than expected. The situation is still the same."
Hearn added: "We have a written offer from a website, the same website with which we have previously dealt. We're dealing with the same people we've always dealt with. We know everything there is to know about them. According to that website, this is a done deal."
Fury and Joshua, according to Arum "Should find other opponents this summer and meet in December. We can't afford to wait any longer. There was supposed to be a 30-day turnaround for the site and everything else to be agreed upon after we signed for the two heavyweights to fight each other, but that has now been extended to 45 days."
Joshua may have to face his mandatory WBO opponent, Oleksandr Usyk.
Fury last fought fourteen months ago, defeating Deontay Wilder and winning the WBC title. Joshua retained his belts after defeating Kubrat Pulev in December.
Why is there a stalemate, will the fight take place, and can it be moved?
So, what are the sticking points?
Contracts. Obligations The fine print. And there's also the issue of time. The contract with the Saudi brokers appears to be far more extensive than just a site fee, with certain demands going beyond simply hosting the event. This could be a portion of broadcast buy-ins and other commercial add-ons. The Saudis clearly want a return on their investment that goes beyond simply hosting the event.
The timing is becoming critical. Fury will have been inactive for 18 months by August, the proposed date, having last fought 14 months ago, a lengthy period ahead of arguably the biggest and most important fight of his career. Joshua, on the other hand, was deployed in December. Fury and his promoters are desperate for a fight date to work towards.
Will the blockbuster fight still take place later this year?
Yes, but only if the two heavyweights win their preliminary bouts. Fury could face Wilder for the third time, defending his WBC title. On Tuesday, Arum flew to California by private jet with Fury to attend a mediation session in a proposed third fight between Fury and Wilder. Wilder's team has claimed that a trilogy fight is legally binding, despite the fact that the contract period, according to Arum, expired last year during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Joshua might be able to take on Usyk's challenge. However, a loss for either Fury or Joshua in their respective fights would diminish the match-up if and when they do meet, and would rule out the title of 'undisputed,' or ruler of all belts, which has not been the case since Lennox Lewis was the heavyweight king almost 20 years ago.
The counter-claim is that the venue for the Joshua-Fury fight is only 24 hours away from being officially confirmed.
While Arum has told Telegraph Sport that it is unacceptable to have waited 45 days for the 30-day agreement on the site date and venue to be finalised, after both parties had accepted the fight in the Middle East, there has been a counter claim this week that the formalities for the $150 million dollar site deal in Saudi Arabia will be completed within the next 24 hours, allowing the fig This weekend will be the proof.
Let us not forget... This scenario was devised by Covid-19.
Only the complications with Covid-19 have pushed the £200 million competition to the Middle East, with Wembley Stadium initially ruled out due to anticipated crowd restrictions this summer. Otherwise, we'd be looking at a summer blockbuster in this country. The most difficult part of the deal was reached in June 2020, when both parties agreed on a 50/50 split for the first fight and a 60/40 split for the winner/loser of a second fight. In normal negotiations for major fights, the split of the purse can be the most difficult to iron out.
Could the fight take place somewhere else?
Of course, it could travel to Florida or Texas this summer. 70,000 fans are expected to attend Saul Canelo lvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders next weekend, May 8, in Texas, but the expectation of £70-100 million paydays for the two heavyweights has made money one of the contest's talking points. Is it out of control? Not in the case of boxing. Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao earned $700 million, and Mayweather vs Conor McGregor earned $600 million. Both fights took place in Las Vegas and drew record-breaking pay-per-view crowds.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.