Pandemic still hampering Fury vs Joshua plans

The COVID-19 pandemic is hampering plans for a Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua superfight this summer, according to promoter Bob Arum.

The Top Rank supremo, who co-promotes Fury along with Frank Warren, says  there are no contractual issues between the two sides. The pandemic though is another matter as it continues to make staging live events with a substantial crowd virtually impossible.

Arum, speaking to Dan Rafael for BoxingScene, said no potential venue will put up the expected enormous site fee if there is no guarantee of a sizeable live gate.

Fury vs Joshua site

He explained: “The problem is when can we schedule the fight and where. Everybody is in the same boat. Nobody is going to allow a big crowd except the f****** governor of Texas, who don’t give a s***. Everybody else is going to take precautions.”

Arum did add: “Look, everybody is stuck in the same thing, the coronavirus. Nobody is going to put up money while the virus will impact spectators and everything. All these athletes are unhappy but so am I unhappy. So is everybody unhappy. Just be patient and it will straighten out.”

Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua
Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are expected to meet in the biggest fight in British boxing history (Pic: Amara Shaw).

Fury (30-0-1) has appeared highly frustrated in media interviews during recent days, on Friday even going as far as to say he had stopped training to take a break from the daily grind.

Arum admitted: “He’s getting impatient. That’s how he is. I think that everybody is proceeding the way they should be proceeding. When the fight will take place, where it will take place — that will work itself out. But right now we’ve got a mother f****** pandemic. You can’t look at this like it’s (2019).”

Fury has now not fought for some 13 months since that destruction of Deontay Wilder in their February 2020 rematch. Arum understands that mindset, but says at the moment there is little he can do to resolve a pandemic.

“That’s his nature. He’s impatient. Listen, if I could wave a wand and end the pandemic wouldn’t I do it? We’re all on the same page. Eddie’s on the same page, everybody’s on the same page.”

Up until now the word has been that Fury vs Joshua would likely take place in June or July, but the continued lack of an official announcement must put those plans into some doubt.

Arum has said he expects both mean to earn around $100million each for their first bout. They agreed in principle the financial structure for a two-fight deal as far back as June 2020.

Saudi Arabia has long been the hot favourite to stage the fight – it hosted AJ’s rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn though says the longer the wait goes, the more it brings Las Vegas back into the mix.

Most of the revenue generated by Fury vs Joshua is expected to come from the huge site fee and from UK PPV revenues. The bout is expected to be showed by both Sky Sports Box Office (Joshua is contracted to the platform) and BT Sport Box Office (Fury’s broadcaster).