The 89-year-old Top Rank supremo – who promotes Fury in the United States – is confident the fight will go ahead in June, very likely outside the UK. He has been working feverishly with Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn to move negotiations forward.
He expects it to be “probably the biggest money fight in heavyweight boxing history” with the two current world heavyweight champions set to earn around $100million EACH. It will result in the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis back in 1999.
Fury is the current betting favourite at around 4/7, while AJ is around the 6/4 mark.
Fury vs Joshua at contract stage
Arum told Steve Kim and Mario Lopez on The 3 Knockdown Rule: “We’re proceeding ahead with the fight between Fury and Joshua, and indeed I have here the first draft of an agreement.
“We’ve been working on it. It’s a draft, but everybody’s a professional and we’re gonna come together and get this thing done and hopefully that fight takes place in June.”
Arum re-iterated that the bout will take place outside the UK, likely in the Middle East or Asia. With the winning bidder paying a massive site fee for the privilege.
“You wouldn’t do the fight in Vegas, the fight doesn’t belong in America, even though Tyson Fury has sort of Americanised himself in the events he’s done here
“So then the question was ‘do you do it in the UK?’ And the answer from every side was ‘no because even though it’s June, who knows where it’s going in the UK (the COVID-19 pandemic), with certainty’.
“We’re looking at the Middle East, we’re looking at Asia and those are the two possibilities for where the fight would happen. Could happen in Singapore, in Macau, and in the Middle East – various countries have expressed an interest.
“There will be a substantial site fee if it’s done outside of the UK and the U.S. It will probably be the biggest money fight in heavyweight boxing history and there’s all professionals working on it and it will be massive.”
Fury vs Joshua will be PPV smash hit
Joshua’s rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019 (staged in Saudi Arabia), created record pay-per-view revenues for Sky Sports Box Office. It drew 1.6million buys at £24.99 each. Arum expects that figure to be smashed by Joshua’s clash with Fury.
“I am optimistic about how well this fight will do both from a site standpoint and a pay-per-view standpoint, particularly in the UK where we think we’ll do over 2million homes.”
There has been much speculation about whether pay-per-view prices are too high – particularly with a global pandemic causing economic catastrophe in many territories. Arum though had a fascinating take on it, using UFC megastar Conor McGregor’s weekend defeat by Dustin Poirier to ram home the point.
“We’ve had a number of discussions. And one of the discussions we’ve had, I advocated just lowering the pay-per-view price across the board. And then the PPV people said ‘no, if the fight is exceptional, that is it has exceptional name value, then the price doesn’t really matter’.
“In other words UFC/ESPN + was charging $60 for a UFC PPV, and the McGregor fight, which was exceptional because McGregor gets a big audience, they raised the price – I think $70 or $80. And they ended up as I understand it with 1.6million buying the fight on ESPN+.
“Now that demonstrates to me that yes, if you do an ordinary pay-per-view fight, then you gotta watch price. But if you do a real blockbuster then you can raise the price and the people will still buy. Demonstrated on Saturday.”
Elsewhere around the world DAZN is set to be a major player, having just launched its streaming platform into more than 200 territories.