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Joshua vs. Fury: Saudi Arabia the frontrunner

Anthony Joshua Eddie Hearn Tyson Fury

By Barry Holbrook: Promoter Eddie Hearn will be presenting the site fee offers to both Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for their planned unification fight in July. At this time, Saudi Arabia is the frontrunner to stage the Joshua-Fury fight.

If everything goes right, Joshua and Fury and their management teams will quickly decide which offers suit them best. As long as both fighters agree to the same location, we could have the fight done soon, perhaps by next week with an official announcement coming.

Although both champions would obviously prefer the contest to occur in the UK, it doesn’t seem likely. Other sites have made bigger offers, and there’s also the problem with crowds still not being allowed back into sporting events in the UK.

If Saudi Arabia is the country that lands the fight, Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) will be returning to the location for his biggest career fight against Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019. It wasn’t a bad thing for Joshua, who seemed happy in beating the out-of-shape 283-lb Ruiz Jr by a one-sided decision.

“It’s good to hear some positivity from Tyson, and they know we’re very close,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN on the Joshua-Fury fight. “Tomorrow, [Sunday] both guys will be presented options for the summer.

“You heard from Anthony Joshua on social media as well. He doesn’t talk that much, AJ, about fights coming up. He talks when things are close. We’re in a great place,” said Hearn.

Anthony Joshua Eddie Hearn Tyson Fury

WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0, 21 KOs) is in a tough position coming off an 18-month layoff for this fight. He wanted a tune-up fight, but his management was unable to procure him one in late 2020.

He wanted Agit Kabayel, but it couldn’t happen. Now it’s too late for a tune-up for ‘The Gypsy King.

As much as Fury would love to have a warm-up fight, he’s just going to have to bear with it, do the best he can, and hope that things don’t turn sour for him.

On the bright side of things, if the ring-rusty Fury beats AJ, he’s going to have room to trash talk and brag about his accomplishment. It’ll look not nice for Joshua that he couldn’t beat Fury with him coming off a nearly two-year layoff.

Heading into their second fight later this year, Fury would be in a great position mentally, and Joshua would be seen as having very little chance of winning.

Fury hasn’t said what his Plan-B option would be if he can’t get the fight done with Joshua for July.

If one or both fighters fail to agree on the three site deal offers that Hearn will be presenting to them on Sunday, Fury will need to consider potentially facing former WBC champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder in the trilogy match that he’s been asking for.

The trilogy fight with Wilder is Fury’s biggest payday out there for him other than the Joshua fight, but it’s also a risky one.

Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) will be looking to separate Fury from his senses, and he’s going to be ready for his roughhouse style of fighting. Fury surprised Joshua by coming into their rematch in 2020 at 270+ lbs and using his size to rough up the 230+lb Wilder.

It could be harder for Fury to replicate what he did last time, many because he’ll plan to try some of the same tactics.

“I’m quietly confident,” said Hearn about the Joshua vs. Fury negotiations. “And it was nice to see Tyson Fury post with a little bit of enthusiasm because I guess he feels we’re close now as well.

“The teams will get together. I’m going to try to pop out and see Bob Arum on Tuesday. We’re nearly there,” said Hearn.

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