Saudi Arabia offers N156bn to stage Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury’s fight

Saudi Arabia offers N156bn to stage Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury’s fight

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The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has indicated interest to host the boxing bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury with £400m.

Their prospective fight, the one which will define their careers and legacy, was always going to be on the table, and so invariably it has been kept at arm’s lengths, in the bank for a rainy day.

But that day has now come. With the coronavirus crisis plunging the sport into doubt, it has brought about a new urgency to cash in their chips and make the biggest fight in boxing.

ESPN revealed overnight that talks over a blockbuster clash between the Brits for December time are underway with Saudi Arabia provisionally laying down a lucrative £400million offer to host the showpiece event.

Fury was due to face Deontay Wilder in a trilogy fight this summer in Las Vegas but that is now off the cards. It was initially pushed back to October and then this week was again further delayed to November with coronavirus cases surpassing 1 million in the US.

With each delay, the fight with Joshua was being pushed further and further to the back of the mind. At this stage, November still looks optimistic while Frank Warren has hinted the venue could change if it allowed the fight to happen sooner.

Joshua, meanwhile, is penciled in to defend his world titles against Kubrat Pulev in London in July but that fight also looks like it could be further delayed with lockdown set to continue in the UK for at least another month.

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If both Fury and Joshua went ahead with their scheduled fights this year, which have already been postponed, it would mean their potential clash would likely not place until spring of 2021 at the earliest.

It is not clear if even then the UK or the States, the two preferred destinations for Fury and Joshua, could host the fight with travel bans still in place and fears Covid-19 will not abate until a vaccine is found.

Saudi Arabia, who have not been hit nearly as hard by coronavirus as the UK and the US, has offered a solution, but it will not be there forever.

Joshua and Fury were always expected to meet if they came through their next fights unscathed, but they seem to have rightly agreed that now is the time to cut out the middle men.

The problem remains, will Wilder and Pulev be happy to be sent on their merry way? Probably not. A fat cheque may help them understand there is a bigger picture at play here.

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