By David Charlesworth, PA
British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn admitted he thought the all-British heavyweight blockbuster between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury would have been finalised by now, but the promoter remains convinced the fight will proceed this summer.
A proposed showdown, believed to be in Saudi Arabia on either July 31, August 7 or 14, between two boxers who hold all four of the major world titles in boxing’s blue riband division is still to be officially announced.
Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum recently cast doubt on whether the super-fight will go ahead, and while opposite number Hearn understands why there might be uneasiness in the WBC champion’s camp, he insists a little faith is required.
With vast sums being thrown around – even low estimates suggest both fighters will land tens of millions of pounds – Hearn insisted no one should be questioning the legitimacy of those paying such figures to stage the contest.
“I know these are serious players,” Hearn said. “When they put it in writing that it is happening then it is happening. I’m 100 per cent confident this happens but I’m a positive person.
“I expected it to be signed by now but it could be signed by Friday. But it’s done, everything’s been provided in writing but I just think (Fury’s team) don’t believe it because they’ve not been involved in a deal like this.
“I’d like some positivity from them. All this stuff about ‘Hearn is desperate, running out of time’ and I think, ‘You lot have some cheek because they’ve done nothing, not one meeting’.
“They’re under pressure. I’m under pressure to make the fight but it is all ‘Eddie needs to hurry up’ and ‘Eddie needs to sort it’. We’re supposed to be partners in the event. It doesn’t seem like that.
“I would have walked away from this deal if it wasn’t for AJ because it means a lot to him and I don’t want to let him down.”
Joshua has experience of fighting in Saudi Arabia, where he regained his WBA, IBF and WBO titles as he avenged the only defeat of his professional career in a rematch against Andy Ruiz on December 2019.
While Hearn did not explicitly reference the country where the fight is anticipated to be held, Joshua’s promoter is adamant he knows what to expect with those he is in talks with because of previous dealings.
“We know the city now, we know the venue plans, we know everything,” Hearn added. “We are probably four or five days where I would have liked to have it done. But I know these people.
“How Bob is is how I was before the Ruiz fight. You don’t draft letters of intent unless it’s all sorted. The Ruiz fight did happen quicker but this is a lot more money. It’s a much bigger fight and we are in a global pandemic.”
It was originally thought a purpose-built indoor arena would be built in the Middle East country because of the extreme summer temperatures but Hearn anticipates an outdoor setting with the fight expected to happen at night.
“They’re building an arena for it again,” Hearn said. “Outdoors. If it is early August it’s 24 or 25 degrees outside. That’s what they want to do. It’s hotter than that in the O2 (Arena in London).”
Late July or early-to-mid-August are the three dates on the table but Hearn said: “No chance whatsoever it creeps into late August.”
In saying he was “pessimistic” about the fight going ahead, Arum suggested Fury could instead turn his attention to a trilogy with Deontay Wilder, but Hearn added: “They don’t want to fight Wilder.”