Anthony Joshua willing to fight Tyson Fury behind closed doors
By Matt Lieberman: Anthony Joshua says he’s willing to fight Tyson Fury behind closed doors if needed to make the fight happen with the WBC heavyweight champion. However, by Joshua and Fury fighting without an audience, they would be losing out on gate that could approach $20 million.
While it sounds noble of Joshua volunteering to fight Fury behind closed doors, it’s an empty gesture. It’s not happening.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn would like to stage the Fury fight in the UK in front of a massive crowd of 80,000 in one of the football stadiums.
IBF/WBA/WBO champ Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) says he wouldn’t want to risk missing out permanently on the fight by electing to wait until fans are allowed to attend fights.
With Fury being a fragile champion, he’s not someone that Joshua can count on being around much longer. Fury already crumbled mentally once following his win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
Joshua’s next fight against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev could potentially take place in front of a live audience at the Pula Arena in Croatia in July. The Middle East is still in play for that fight.
Joshua doesn’t have faith that Fury will stay around
“I would take it because if I don’t take it now, I don’t think Tyson Fury would probably be around by the time this will come around again when big hall shows are available,” Joshua said to SI.com. “I have to take the opportunities while they are there.”
It’s not only up to Joshua about the decision to fight behind closed doors. His promoters at Matchroom Boxing and Fury would need to agree to that. It’s highly unlikely that Fury, his promoters at Top Rank, and Matchroom would agree to have the Joshua fight take place without fans.
It’s predictable that Matchroom boss Hearn and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will find a country in the Middle East that would be willing to pay a colossal site fee to host the Joshua-Fury fight. Even if there’s no crowd present, the site would be more than enough to make up for the absence of fans.
It would be astonishing if Joshua and Fury’s promoters can’t find a country that’ll be willing to host the fight. It’s a positive for AJ and Fury that they’ll probably be able to fight in front of fans, but it’ll be a negative for their Brtish boxing fans. Their fans will need to travel a long way to get to one of the foreign countries, and it won’t come cheap for them.
Although Fury has done an excellent job of getting back in shape to capture the WBC belt, he’s still quite vulnerable.
Otto Wallin gave Fury all he could handle last September in a fight that arguably should have been stopped due to the cut that Tyson suffered.
AJ fighting for the love of the sport
“I would definitely fight for the love of my sport,” said Joshua. “I’ve got that hunger in me. It would be difficult to fight without the crowd there to entertain, but a win’s a win, and it goes down in history.”
It’s easier for Joshua to fight without fans than someone like Fury, who hasn’t made the same kind of money. Joshua’s net worth is $80 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In contrast, the site has Fury listed at $30 million. It’s doubtful that Fury would want to walk away from millions by agreeing to fight without fans.
What Joshua isn’t saying is that he and Fury have an advantage that standard fighters don’t have. Given the popularity of Joshua and Fury, foreign countries like the Middle East would likely be willing to host their fight and pay huge site fees doing so.
The average fighter can’t count on a foreign country is willing to stage their fights, which means they’ll be stuck fighting without fans if their own government isn’t allowing fans to attend fights.
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