The undisputed heavyweight championship unification clash between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury might be heading to Saudi Arabia, but at least one element of the fight is being arranged with UK fans in mind.
Fury’s US promoter Bob Arum recently spoke with badlefthook.com about the status of his man’s showdown with Joshua – confirming the widely-reported August 14 date for the fight.
“We have reserved Aug. 14 for pay-per-view in the United States,” stated the 89-year-old Hall of Famer.
UK Start Time for AJ vs Fury
What has not been reserved for the US market, it seems, is the start time for the fight.
All too often, boxing fans on this side of the Atlantic are forced to stay up until the early hours of the morning to catch live action. It is not uncommon for ring walks to be delayed until 5am UK time to suit the American audience.
“The fight would play out between 11-midnight in Saudi, for the record,” revealed Arum – which translates to somewhere from 9-10pm for British viewers.
Staging the fight at prime time in the UK will do pay-per-view business no harm. The bout is expected to smash all existing domestic records by a wide margin.
The scheduled start time was also hinted at by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn earlier this week. Hearn explained to Sky Sports that organisers in Saudi Arabia are considering ways to combat the August desert heat in a stadium built especially for the fight.
“They want to build a new stadium,” Hearn said of the Saudi Arabian authority behind the fight.
“They have indoors options. In August at 11pm it will be about 23 degrees,” he stated, confirming Arum’s comments regarding the proposed timings.
“They want to create something very, very special. Last time they built a stadium for the Andy Ruiz Jr fight in just seven weeks and it held 18,000. This will be a similar set-up.
“They have the opportunity to hold it indoors but they want to create something that will shock the world. They want to build a stadium just for this fight.”
Although preparations to stage the fight are clearly now well underway, it has yet to be officially announced.
Bob Arum hopes a proper announcement can be made next week, but admitted that negotiations for the bout had been tough.
“Especially when it’s a lot of money like this – it’s very, very complex.
“Everybody has been trying to get this done, and we have a couple of issues – nothing between the fighters – to deal with. They’re not unusual issues, but they have to be resolved.
“We sent (deal principals in Saudi Arabia) a memo, on behalf of the promotion, and they said it’s the holiday, the end of Ramadan, and nobody is in the office.
“They need the minister of sports’ approval, and they told us we should expect an answer Saturday or Sunday. Friday is a holiday. So hopefully they accede to what we’ve asked for, and I’m optimistic they will.
“Then, we can do a proper announcement of the deal, not Frank (Warren, Fury’s other co-promoter) and Eddie (Hearn, promoter for Joshua) spouting off. I’m very optimistic.”
That optimism is shared by fight fans around the globe. We all want to find out who the true top heavyweight in the world is – and the answer appears to be getting ever closer.
The good news for UK fans is that they will be able to witness it at a reasonable hour.