Former British boxing great Ricky Hatton says Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua must happen, and it must take place in the UK.
Hatton, who claimed world titles at light-welterweight and welterweight during a glittering career, spoke to Sky Sports News on the 15th anniversary of his epic defeat of the great Kostya Tszyu in his home town of Manchester back in June 2005.
That epic showdown took place in the early hours of a Sunday morning in front of a raucous Hatton-loving crowd of 22,000 – and The Hitman believes when Fury and Joshua meet a similarly special occasion awaits – ideally outdoors in front of a huge crowd at Wembley Stadium. This despite reports that countries like Saudi Arabia are queueing up with huge offers to stage the bout.
Hatton told The Boxing Show: “I don’t see why it can’t happen at Wembley.You need a big outdoor arena. The majority of money is made when you go boxing in the United States. The vast size of the United States, that tends to be where you earn your money, but a fight of this size, I think it needs to be in England. Two British heavyweights.
“Two men at the top of the game. A brilliant clash of styles, a brilliant clash of personalities. We’ve got to have it in the UK, for British boxing. We need this in the UK, it’s an absolute must.”
Fury claims he has been chasing a fight with Joshua for five years now, while his promoter Frank Warren doesn’t believe AJ actually wants the fight. But Hatton says for the sake of British boxing – it must take place eventually.
This fight, it can’t not happen, it’s got to go ahead, otherwise all of us will never forgive ourselves,” he said.
“Years ago, British boxing, you couldn’t think of two British heavyweights. We have the two best in the division now and they’ve got to fight each other. When they sit around the negotiating table, everyone has just got to be sensible. A lot of fights don’t take place because of who has the lion’s share. We can’t let this fight not happen, I feel.”
If Fury and Joshua do finally meet, the odds are it will likely be next summer, the first part of a potential 2021 double-header according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
Fury (30-0-1) first must safely negotiate a third fight with American Deontay Wilder – with Macau or Australia both suggested as potential venues due to the lack of potential currently for live gates in the UK and the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joshua (23-1) meanwhile had his last fight against Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh Saudi Arabia last December. And Hearn is currently trying to find a suitable venue for his mandatory title defence against 39-year-old Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev (28-1). That bout had been scheduled for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20 before the pandemic took hold.