Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury‘s epic all-British undisputed fight has finally been confirmed by promoter Eddie Hearn who says it will take place in Saudi Arabia on either August 7 or 14.
Boxing fans have been early awaiting news over the highly-anticipated showdown between the pair, which will determine the best fighter on the planet, but talks have dragged on for months – with both teams growing frustrated over the slow nature of negotiations.
But Hearn, who has been leading the discussions for some time and has assured that the fight will go ahead for many weeks, has revealed a date for the clash and said it would be held in Saudi Arabia – where Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
‘August 7/August 14,’ Hearn told Sky Sports News when asked about a date for the fight. ‘I think it’s a very bad secret that the fight’s happening in Saudi Arabia.
‘I don’t mind giving you that information, Bob Arum’s already done it.’
Hearn hailed the ‘fantastic’ organisers in the Middle East and backed them to put on a top event after the successful bout between Joshua and Ruiz Jr nearly two years ago, and insists both sides are ‘ready to go’.
‘It’s the same people we did the deal with for Andy Ruiz – that event was spectacular.
‘As partners they were fantastic as well, so we’re very comfortable.
‘Anthony is comfortable, he knows those people, they delivered on every one of their promises last time. We’re ready to go.’
It won’t be the first time Fury has fought in Saudi Arabia – having made a surprise appearance in the WWE – beating Braun Strowman in the country in October 2019.
There had been huge question marks over the fight as the weeks dragged on without any official announcement – with Fury and his promoters Arum and Frank Warren all pouring doubt over whether it would take place.
This week Warren said Fury was unhappy with his contract and would not be signing it in its current state, while Arum last month declared the bout ‘dead in the water’ while Hearn frantically attempted to sign off a site deal.
And Joshua himself waded into the back-and-forth words as he said he wanted ‘less talk, more action from Fury’, after the Gypsy King’s tirade about the Watford-born fighter on social media – describing himself as a ‘ ‘spartan’, while calling Joshua a ‘big bum dosser’.
Fury claimed he would quit on his stool if Joshua made it past three rounds with him in their fight, prompting stern words from the four-belt world champion.
‘Spartan,’ he wrote on Twitter as he addressed Fury. ‘I’m tired. My fans are tired. Your fans are tired. We’re all tired of the talk. Less talk. More action!’
Previously Warren had admitted there were a few ‘humps’ to sort out before the deal could be properly thrashed out, telling SecondsOut: ‘You can only sign a contract when all the parties agree on it,’ the promoter said.
‘And we’ve got a contract at the moment that all the parties don’t agree on. We’ve got a contract at the moment that Tyson Fury will not sign.
‘One of the things in that contract that will enable us to get over the hump is the guarantees. If the guarantees are there, then it’s not a problem.
‘That’s where it is. I’m not going down the road of where the fight’s going to take place, who those negotiations are with because it’s all moot at the moment.
‘Until we agree the terms, until Tyson Fury – which is who we’re with – until he’s happy with the terms it won’t get signed. And he’s not happy at the moment.’
But through all the uncertainty, Hearn has always been adamant that the fight would go head this summer and that it had been agreed by both parties.
Earlier this month he hit back at Arum’s ‘dead in the water’ jibe and insisted the bout was ‘on’ and ‘happening’.
‘This fight is on, this fight is happening. As I told everyone last week, back and forwards with the drafts.
‘I saw Bob Arum’s comments, “The fight is dead”. I don’t know where that came from.
‘We know what we’re doing and that’s now been acknowledged by the other side, which is nice.’
It was rumoured that there would be an official announcement after Canelo Alvarez’ win over Billy Joe Saunders in Dallas on Saturday night, but Hearn said they weren’t quite in the right position – admitting lawyers were still thrashing out the terms.
‘Fury is on board, AJ is on board, they’ve all signed the site agreement, but it’s a lot of money,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately I can’t just tell the lawyers to hurry up.
‘But that fight is done, and you’ll get an announcement very soon.’