So Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua is signed, but far from sealed and delivered – now comes the serious business of securing a $100million-plus site fee.
According to highly-respected boxing writer Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, that is the mind-boggling figure being sought to stage the biggest fight in British boxing history.
Current heavyweight champions Fury (30-0-1) and Joshua (24-1) will put all the marbles on the line when they lock horns – hopefully in June or July. They have a two-fight deal with a rematch likely in late 2021.
But first there are other key details to be finalised – notably just where the bout will be held. Saudi Arabia is hot favourite, having played host to Joshua’s rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019.
Saudi Arabia the favourite
The Saudis put up a whopping $60million that night, but Coppinger says the asking price is pretty much double that for Fury vs Joshua.
According to Mark Kriegel of ESPN, now contracts are signed the clock is ticking on a 30-day deadline to find a venue (from last Saturday). So time is absolutely of the essence.
At this stage, while June or July is still clearly the aim, a potential delay – not a long one – must be a possibility. There is little time to finalise a venue, agree TV details, detail all the logistics and then promote one of the biggest fights in history.
Per Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, there are multiple bidders to stage the bout – as many as eight or nine. They include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Singapore and the United States.
Pandemic a huge factor
Were we outside a pandemic then the two likely frontrunners would be London or Las Vegas. While London appears to be out due to COVID-19 restrictions, Vegas is still hanging in there. But still not expected to get the nod.
Fury vs Joshua, while a big fight in the U.S., is not an enormous one there and therefore holding it in Nevada in a timezone not helpful for UK TV would appear to be a reach.
Instead the Middle East is expected to win the day – a late evening start there would be primetime in the UK and early evening in the U.S.
Both men are expected to earn a huge $100million each for their first fight alone. As well as the huge expected site fee, the bout is expected to smash British PPV records. Sky Sports Box Office and BT Sport Box Office are both expected to show it.