Contracts may be signed for Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua, but the chances of their first meeting taking place without delay as hoped in June or July appear to be on a knife edge.
Eddie Hearn announced last week that all parties have agreed to the bout – but now they are into a 30-day ticking clock where the venue needs to be finalised. It’s likely there would then be just two or three months before that hoped-for summer date.
Not everybody believes those timescales are achievable – including DAZN analyst Chris Mannix. Speaking to Gareth A Davies, he aired his doubts, speculating that the fight moving back a little would actually be a plus due to the current COVID-19 restrictions.
Not even close – Mannix
He said: It’s great news that the two fighters have agreed to a deal, but I’m with you. Until there’s a site or a date, we’re not there. We’re not even really close to being there.
“We’re talking about the biggest site fee in the history of boxing (the goal is reportedly north of $100million). If I take some time to get the best offer – and that’s what you’re looking out for if you’re Eddie Hearn, if you’re MTK, if you’re Bob Arum. Get the best offer that’s on the table.
“My sense is that it may not be until September until we get this first fight because it’s just gonna take that long not only to get the deal done with the site, but then we all hope that this global pandemic is going to be over by the summer, but there’s no guarantee of that.
“The longer that a site and promoters can kick the can down the road, the more likely it is you can get a full stadium wherever you’re gonna be holding it, and the country that is effectively buying the fight is gonna be able to get some of its money back.
September or later
“I think the fight is gonna happen, obviously, at some point. But I think the date is probably looking more and more like September or later.”
Fury and Joshua have signed a two-fight deal, the first with a 50-50 revenue split and the rematch with a 60-40 upside for the winner. The Middle East – and specifically Saudi Arabia – remains hot favourite to stage the first bout.
Saudi has already hosted a Joshua fight – namely that rematch victory over Andy Ruiz Jr back in December 2019.
Another factor here in the tense negotiations is Fury’s recent inactivity. It is already 13 months since he last fought in that Vegas demolition of Deontay Wilder. Even a June fight would take that up to 16 months.