Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury looks set to be the biggest fight in British boxing for a generation.
Fury still stands undefeated and Joshua has garnered only one loss to Andy Ruiz Jr., and both have been seemingly destined to face-off for many years.
While both hold statement wins over Wladimir Klitschko, Fury’s was undoubtedly more impressive, displaying a defensive technical boxing masterclass in front of a hostile crowd when Klitschko was a stronger force.
Joshua did however manage a TKO victory in a coming of age performance. Fury also completed a remarkable comeback to draw with then undefeated KO artist Deontay Wilder and then comprehensively demolish him in the rematch.
Joshua shockingly lost his world titles against the unfancied Andy Ruiz Jr., but came back strongly in the rematch, to regain his place atop the heavyweight division.
Throughout their careers this fight has been on the cards, with both making jibes against each other on television and social media.
Barring a disaster or Deontay Wilder forcing another rematch with Fury, two colossal fights are penned in Fury’s and Joshua’s diaries for 2021.
Potential for Offers from Saudi Arabia and China
In a move sure to frustrate British boxing fans, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has stated that it is probable that at least one of the fights will not happen on British ground.
Offers from countries like Saudi Arabia and China have been mooted. Joshua has already fought in Saudi Arabia, with the Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch taking place there, in a glitzy bout.
The financial benefits to both fighters if they choose to fight in Saudi Arabia or China are sizeable and will likely give them an easy decision to make.
In a short career, and in a sport which athletes can have their careers, and perhaps lives, ended with one unfortunate punch, it is understandable why money so often takes the priority in decisions.
Due to the backing from wealthy governments willing to pay over the market price to host these bouts, they will likely be spectacles that the UK could not offer.
Hearn, in an interview with talkSPORT said:
“If you go to a fighter and their teams and, pulling numbers out of the sky, say you have £50m to fight in the UK or you have £100m to do the fight in the Middle East, it's a very short conversation.
“Because they understand the risks involved. If you ask Tyson and you ask AJ, 'where do you want this fight to happen?' – blimey, obviously in the UK! Two British heavyweight world champions and we will do everything we can to make the fight here, by the way.
“But, we can't ignore the other offers. I would certainly like to see one of the two fights, because it will be two fights, in the UK.
“And I do believe that is what the fighters want as well. But even in the current environment, there has been a number of sizeable approaches from around the world to stage this fight – the biggest fight in boxing.”
However, there has been much controversy around both Saudi Arabia and China with perceived attempts at ‘sports-washing’.
This concept involves countries attempting to cover up their poor human rights records by putting on lavish sporting events with top world stars and purchasing sporting institutions, blowing the competition out the water with huge government-backed offers.
For example, a consortium backed by the Saudi Arabian Government attempted to buy Newcastle United Football Club in 2020 in a £300 million deal.
There was a huge backlash, in large part due to the Saudi Arabian government’s human rights record and the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Furthermore, Premier League football coverage was previously pirated in Saudi Arabia openly on a large scale, with the country’s government doing nothing to stop this.
China also has a record of oppressive governmental rule, clamping down on political dissidents and a poor human rights record.
It looks all but certain that the need to extract the maximum financial rewards from these generation-defining heavyweight bouts will outweigh the ethical concerns of fans worldwide as to holding these events in Saudi Arabia or China.
This hopefully won’t dim the excitement of the public as to the fights themselves though, boasting an interesting stylistic clash, between power puncher Joshua and the maverick Fury, looking to put on another technical clinic and show his heart once more.News Now - Sport News