Talks will start on Monday over the long-awaited mega-fight that would pocket Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury £100million each — and the bulk of the deal could be concluded in just two days.
That is according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who has an agreement in principle with the Fury team on two showdowns for all the heavyweight titles in 2021, with a 50-50 split agreed for the first, which would probably be in Dubai, Qatar or Saudi Arabia in late May.
Joshua’s representatives will push to get names on contracts before finalising the where and when in the wake of the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO champion’s ninth-round demolition of Kubrat Pulev on Saturday night.
Anthony Joshua’s stylish victory over Kubrat Pulev has accelerated talk of a Tyson Fury clash
The fight would unify the heavyweight division and be one of Britain’s great sporting moments
Joshua’s promoted, Eddie Hearn, has claimed he could have the fight deal signed in two days
Hearn said: ‘We are all in for that fight. The only thing that needs to be resolved is where it is going to be and a couple of TV issues. That is it.
‘Everyone (on both sides) is completely in on the finances — 50-50 first fight, 60-40 to the winner, two fights.
‘We can sign an agreement and then go to a conversation about the various sites, to see where we can get the money. There is no reason we cannot complete the deal in a couple of days and then move on and solve the other problems.
‘We need to write to the governing bodies and say we have a deal and we will talk to the various sites and confirm the dates shortly for what I suppose will be the end of May.’
The first fight is likely to take place in the Middle East, where Joshua beat Andy Ruiz in 2019
Asked about the prospect of £100m purses in what would be the biggest fight in British boxing history, for which Hearn expects they can do around 2.2million pay-per-view buys, the promoter added:
‘That is the kind of number both fighters will expect for a fight like this. You wouldn’t get near that number in the UK, that is for sure. The only way we get to 50 per cent of the money in the UK is if 100 per cent capacity is back.’
In the likely event the first fight is in the Middle East, there would be a concerted effort to stage the rematch in the UK.
Among the remaining hurdles for the fight is the legal dispute over Deontay Wilder’s claim to a rematch with Fury, which Fury’s team believe is invalid.
There is also the broadcasting complication of Joshua being signed to Sky and DAZN, while Fury is with BT and ESPN.
The rematch could then return to the UK, where AJ pulverised Pulev inside nine rounds
Hearn said: ‘It is quite easy because the worst-case scenario is everyone shares it and everyone will do that anyway. Everyone is saying, “Let’s get it done”.’
As ever in boxing, it is likely to be more complex than many would hope, but WBC champion Fury has already started calling out Joshua, and insisted he would beat the 31-year-old inside three rounds after watching his performance against Pulev.
While Fury would start that double-header as favourite, the betting margins have narrowed after Joshua’s explosive performance in demolishing the tough Bulgarian. Joshua, who spent an hour in his dressing room after the win discussing defensive strategies with ringside visitor Floyd Mayweather, was reluctant to talk about Fury.
He said: ‘On to the next one. It’s a tough old game and you can’t get too comfortable as champion because I have to be out again in five, six months.
Tyson Fury will enter the Joshua fight as the favourite so long as he dominates his next bout
‘That was my first fight in over a year. I shook off a lot of ring rust and I would like to go again soon so I can keep up the momentum.
‘I am calling it the “Road to whoever is next” because I am knocking them off one by one. Pulev was ranked No 1 by the IBF, a serious challenger. He tried his best and got defeated so we go on to the next.‘
Respect to Tyson Fury, he is a talented guy, he’s got loads of fans and he will make for great competition when the time is ready. Ask my manager and my promoter (about Fury), I am just a warrior.’
The final say on all Joshua’s opponents goes to his trainer Rob McCracken. The usually reserved mastermind of Joshua’s corner said: ‘Him and Tyson Fury are the two best heavyweights. It’s when they fight, not if. I wouldn’t have thought they’d wait.’