It seems inevitable that Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua will finally happen inside a boxing ring in 2021, COVID permitting, and the venue is a political hot potato.
British fight fans are desperate for the unification matches to take place on these shores. But promoter Eddie Hearn admitted this week it is likely one of their two planned bouts will take place overseas.
That stance is largely built on the premise that another territory might offer a huge site fee. But there is another elephant in the room. Namely COVID-19.
Fury vs Joshua at Wembley: COVID factor
With the end of the pandemic seemingly still months away, is it crazy to imagine the two best heavyweights in the world meeting say at Wembley Stadium in June with 90,000 fans in attendance?
The sheer economics of such a fight mean a live gate would be a vital part of the revenues in this country. But would COVID-19 restrictions allow such an event? Even then, and even with a vaccine in play?
At this stage the answer is we just don’t know, but Monday’s announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson does provide just a little hope on that score.
Johnson said he hopes the people most vulnerable to the virus will all be vaccinated by Easter 2021. Good news on the face of it. But that still leaves questions unanswered for this mega fight.
He said: “With a favourable wind, we should be able to inoculate – I believe, on the evidence I’m seeing – the vast majority of the people who need the most protection by Easter.”
Uncertainty could dog Fury vs Joshua plans
Johnson’s statement suggests that even in the first quarter of 2021 we won’t really know what the regulations will be come summer. If so, is it possible to build the required promotion for such an enormous event?
Fury and Joshua have agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal. But clearly there are as many unknowns outside the ropes as there are inside.
Joshua in theory can stamp his ticket to a Fury clash by beating Kubrat Pulev on December 12 (live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN). Though WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk may have something to say about that.
Fury’s next fight meanwhile is not yet confirmed. He will return to the ring in 2021 but against who and where is not yet known.