Site approved for Joshua-Fury summer fight, reveals promoter Hearn

By Sports Desk April 15, 2021

Eddie Hearn has revealed Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have agreed on a location for a summer showdown between the two heavyweight world champions.

The rivals have a deal in place to face each other twice in 2021, though a venue and date had yet to be agreed for the first meeting.

However, having said recently he planned to present "three or four" options to both teams, Matchroom promoter Hearn confirmed on Thursday that a site has been approved and negotiations are "in a great place", having sat down with Fury while the pair have been in Las Vegas.

Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while the unbeaten Fury is the WBC champion after dethroning Deontay Wilder last year.

"I don't want to talk too much about it because I think people are bored of me talking," Hearn said in an interview with Behind The Gloves.

"All I will tell you – which I haven't said to anyone yet – is that both sides have approved the site offer they want to go with. Now we are just finalising the site deal and we are in a great place.

"I saw Tyson yesterday. We had five or 10 minutes together – and it was good.

"I don't represent Tyson, so I don't know what is in his mind. What he basically cemented in my mind is that this is the only fight he wants. I know that is the same with AJ.

"We've got the offer, we all approve and we are moving forward now. We're good. I'm not going to go into where it is going to be held, but it has been agreed by both sides over the option we will take. You will get the date very soon, plus the official announcement."

Hearn also made clear that the original plan still remains in place, meaning a bout midway through 2021 will be followed by a rematch before the end of the year.

"There is no option for this fight to go at the back end of the year," Hearn said.

"That's been the hardest thing about securing the site deal ... in this world we live in today, most people would like to kick it to November or December. That's not available. It was never available.

"What was available was a summer fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship. That is what you’re going to get.

"Both guys want two fights this year – one will be in the summer, one will be in December. That's the plan."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said last week that the English capital is ready to host the lucrative fight, despite the restrictions in the country amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Fury's most recent three bouts have all been staged in Las Vegas while Joshua reclaimed his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch held in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.

The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner fought once in 2020, with Joshua beating Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena in front of a restricted number of fans.

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    Joshua decided to shake things up after losing his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

    Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter and Anthony Wilson are among the trainers Joshua could recruit, while Floyd Mayweather has been giving the Briton advice ahead of an eagerly anticipated rematch with Usyk that has not yet been confirmed.

    Hearn, Joshua's promoter, told iFL TV: "I think AJ will make an announcement when camp starts, which I guess will be end of January, early February.

    "He's worked hard to get it right. A lot of people have said, 'do you think it's risky to bring in a new trainer?'

    "I flip that and say, 'do you think it's risky to not be comfortable with your set-up or your surroundings?'"

    Hearn says having a new face in Joshua's corner will not mean there is no role to play for his long-time trainer Robert McCracken.

    "He'll always be involved in some way," Hearn said of McCracken.

    "He's more than just a trainer to Anthony Joshua... he's a mentor, an advisor.

    "Those two will always talk – in what capacity, I don't know. I'll leave that to AJ to announce. But there will certainly be additions to the training team."

    Joshua was outclassed by Usyk, suffering the second defeat of his professional career after he was also surprisingly dethroned by Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.

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    Jake Paul, the YouTuber-turned-boxer, has published a five-strong list of opponents he wishes to take on in the ring.

    Paul knocked out Tyron Woodley on Saturday, with the latter having stepped in at short notice for a rematch following Tommy Fury's withdrawal.

    After the win, Paul expressed his desire to get in the ring with either Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz, both UFC stars.

    However, the 24-year-old has now turned his attention to five other candidates, including Fury's brother, heavyweight champion Tyson.

    Also on the list is one of boxing's greats, Floyd Mayweather Jr, who has not fought since 2017, though the 44-year-old has previously been touted as a possible exhibition opponent for Paul's older brother Logan.

    Canelo, the first boxer in history to become an undisputed champion at super middleweight, was also named on Paul's hit list, as was the legendary Mike Tyson.

    UFC boss Dana White, meanwhile, was another inclusion. 

    There is some animosity between the pair, however, with Paul previously criticising White's treatment of UFC's fighters.

    "I make more than every UFC fighter f****** combined, including Conor [McGregor]. Y'all work for f****** Dana, y'all work for WME, Endeavor, that's who you work for," he said on his brother Logan's podcast.

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    Paul also said he would knock White out, to which the UFC boss, in an interview with MMA Junkie, replied: 'It actually makes sense. I'm 52 years old. I'm in the age bracket of guys he fights, so yeah, I could see him wanting to fight me. All he fights are 50-year-olds."

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    The Youtuber-turned-boxer had been due to fight Tommy Fury - brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury - but the former Love Island star pulled out citing a chest infection and broken ribs, with Woodley stepping in at short notice for a rematch after Paul had won via split-decision in their first contest earlier this year.

    After a bloodied Paul floored former UFC champion Woodley with an overhand right in the sixth round in Florida, he criticised Fury before exclaiming that he wants to take on more UFC figures in the boxing ring next, naming Masvidal and Diaz, who had been in attendance.

    "This is as real as it gets, just like my right hand. I told you, I was going to f*** him up and I f***** him up," Paul said following the bout.

    "[Woodley] is a legend and I respect him for taking the fight on two weeks' notice. Tommy Fury is a b**** for pulling out of the fight.

    "It was a tough fight. I had blood in my eyes. I had the job done. I was setting the punch up the whole fight. He didn't see it coming. Like a lumberjack, timber.

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    Masvidal has a record of 35-15 and is currently ranked sixth in the welterweight division, while Diaz has a record of 21-13.

    Diaz recently addressed rumours of a rubber fight with Conor McGregor after the pair fought twice in the UFC in 2016, with a victory each, and the 36-year-old seemed more focused on getting back in the octagon than entering a boxing ring, asking the UFC to be included on the card for UFC 270 in January.

    McGregor suffered fractures to his tibia and fibula that resulted in a first-round stoppage loss to Dustin Poirier in September.

    "I'm not fighting Conor until his leg grows back and he beats some people so we know he can even fight still till then," Diaz posted on Twitter.

    "Can I get on January card @UFC. Thanks."

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