Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed rival heavyweight boxing champions Tyson Fury (30-0-1) and Anthony Joshua (24-1-0) have officially signed the contract for a historic two-fight deal after months of negotiations. And now, the WBA, IBF, WBO, as well as the WBC title are on track to become unified this coming year.
“The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper,” Hearn, Managing Director of Mushroom Sports, tells ESPN.
“But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line. You had rival promoters, rival networks, and rival fighters.”
“I actually feel we’ve done the hard part. Speaking for myself, Anthony, and his team at 258 Management, I know how hard we’ve worked these last couple of months and I just feel that this fight is so big, it’s not a difficult sell.”
The final signature found its way onto the dotted line last Saturday in a provision of services agreement. In addition to Fury, 32, and Joshua, 31, other signees reportedly include:
- Eddie Hearn himself (Joshua’s promoter & manager)
- Matchroom Boxing
- Top Rank (Fury’s American promoter)
- Queensberry (Fury’s English promoter)
- as well as the Dubai-based MTK (Fury’s management company)
According to ESPN, with the terms of the deal now set, principals can solicit offers from prospective sites. The frontrunner? Saudi Arabia, where Joshua avenged his loss against Andy Ruiz during the December 2019 rematch; and where Hearn previously secured a tidy site fee of US$40 million plus. As noted by the sports publication, the need for a huge site fee becomes “particularly acute” given the seating restrictions and economic impacts of COVID-19.
“We’d like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month,” says Hearn.
“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.”
“This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself.”
“It’s still pending, finding a site and a date that’s acceptable to both [fighters’ camps],” explains an unnamed source within Top Rank.
“We have thirty days from the signing, or the deal could go away.”
As for the matter of $$$, both Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are expected to bank a base figure of around $180 million each, along with a 50-50 purse split for the first fight, and a 60-40 purse split in the rematch (the lion’s share obviously going towards the winner). As previously stated, if all goes to plan, Joshua could actually double his entire net worth.
Currently, both Fury vs Joshua fights are scheduled to take place in 2021: the first in sometime in June or July, the rematch “ideally” in November or December.
“One of the fascinations about this fight will be the buildup because they’re two totally different characters, two totally different personalities,” says Hearn.
“The mind games will be on another level for this fight. Tyson is very good at that. Anthony is excited by that.”
“[Anthony’s] so pumped, so focused, he hasn’t stopped training since the Kubrat Pulev fight in December. He’s like a caged lion. The build-up is going to be epic.”
Who’s your money on?