Anthony Joshua’s prospective world heavyweight title clash with Tyson Fury is unlikely to take place in Britain, promoter Eddie Hearn has conceded. Saudi Arabia, which staged Joshua’s rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December, has already emerged as favourite to stage the contest, for which representatives of both parties have agreed an outline deal.
Hearn admitted that while he would love the bout to be staged in Britain, financial practicalities make it much more likely that it will take place in the Middle East or China. Speaking on Matchroom’s Youtube channel, Hearn said: “If we can do the fight in the UK, fantastic, (but) we know Saudi Arabia would love to have this fight – we had a wonderful experience last time with the Andy Ruiz fight.
“We’ve had offers from China, we’ve had offers from around the world. This is the biggest fight in boxing – it doesn’t get any bigger. There’s not going to be any country that stages major events that won’t want this fight.”
Hearn appeared to write off the prospect of a repeat of Joshua’s Wembley Stadium clash with Wladimir Klitschko in 2017, insisting: “Everyone will talk about this fight taking place in the UK (but) it doesn’t work like that. We have to go back to report the offers to these people’s teams. It’s a dangerous sport so let them make their money. It’s a two-fight deal so one will take place in an alternative venue to the other fight. If we can do the fight in the UK, fantastic.”
However, before the lucrative showdown can be sealed for 2021, Fury is set to have to come through two bouts with a mandated rematch against Deontay Wilder followed by a defence against WBC top contender Dillian Whyte. Hearn, who is Whyte’s promoter, confirmed that he has written to the WBC to clarify that Whyte must fight for Fury’s title before the end of February.
Hearn added: “We will be pushing that mandatory. We know that the biggest fight in boxing is the undisputed heavyweight title and of course people want to see that fight, but this isn’t a case of saying to Dillian, ‘sorry mate, you’ve got to wait’.”