After months of speculation, rumors and discussion, a deal has finally been penned for the most anticipated heavyweight boxing contest in a generation.
Not since the turn of the century have all the belts been unified by one champion, but that is exactly what will happen when Tyson Fury finally meets fellow British boxer Anthony Joshua in the ring sometime this summer. It is already being billed as the biggest fight in boxing, with promoter Eddie Hearn already building up the bout.
“This is the biggest fight in boxing and one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” Hearn is reported as saying by ESPN. “It will be a major, major win for a country that wants to showcase itself.”
The location is yet to be decided, with the US and Abu Dhabi the two likely destinations for the powerful duo. Fury would surely prefer to keep the fight in the US, having recently confirmed he has no plans to box in his home country again.
“A superstar of world boxing ain’t gonna box in a small show,” he told iFL TV. “It’s got to be in the capital of entertainment in a world. My own setting. I was in Vegas for the last three fights. The last four fights have been California Staples Center, MGM Grand Garden Arena, T Mobile arena, MGM. So, they’ve all been over there.”
The understated Joshua is perhaps a little less loose with his tongue, but Fury is pure box office and perfectly suited to a bout on American soil. His recent stint in WWE has seen him developing a brand that US fight fans identify with, and his battles with Deontay Wilder earned him not only respect, but lots of PPV buys, too.
Doubtless, now the deal has been finalized, Fury’s camp will be hyping it up through the media, seeking to make the exciting fight one of the most purchased in history. That honor currently goes to Floyd Mayweather’s 2015 tussle with Manny Pacquiao. A Bwin boxing graphic shows that it drew 4.6m pay-per-view buys, but the end product did not quite live up to the hype. One thing Fury almost always guarantees is a good fight, with both his matchups with Wilder going the distance and giving fans plenty to cheer or jeer, depending on who they backed. Those who bought into Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and felt cheated almost certainly will not get the same feeling when the Gypsy King squares off against AJ.
The eyes of the world will certainly be on the pair when they do finally come together, with Fury an early favorite given his recent record. He has, arguably, beaten better fighters than Joshua in recent years, and he has battled back against adversity to earn his spot at the top of the tree. Joshua, on the other hand, would surely have been the outright favorite had he not surprisingly lost to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019. He did come back to beat the same opponent in his next bout, but the ease with which he was defeated, and his apparent lack of preparation, has cast doubts on his once stellar reputation.
Whatever the outcome, wherever it takes place and however many people do buy in, Fury vs. Joshua is the battle all fight fans are desperate to see. Not since 1999, when Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield, has there been an Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World so, unless there is an unlikely draw, boxing history will be made this summer.
© 2021, Seth Barmash. All rights reserved.