Macao link sparks AJ fight venue speculation

2021-03-23 12:06:59

  This combination of pictures created on December 14, 2020 shows Boxer Tyson Fury (L) during a press conference in Los Angeles, California on January 25, 2020, and British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua during a press conference in Ad Diriyah, a Unesco-listed heritage site, outside Riyadh, on December 4, 2019. [Photo/Agencies] Shaping up as the ring's supreme court of trial by attrition, the long-awaited heavyweight title unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury could convene "not far from Macao" this summer. Co-promoter Eddie Hearn revealed to Britain's Daily Mail on Friday that a billionaire Asian businessman has made a firm site offer-believed to be in excess of $200 million-to stage what will likely end up being history's richest fight "in his home country." Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), who owns the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, and unbeaten WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), both from Britain, have already signed the contracts. All that remains is to confirm the site and date. So will it be the Chinese mainland? Hong Kong? South Korea? "All I will say is it's in Asia," Hearn told the Daily Mail. "Not Macao ...but not far away. And it's a realistic option; money is not an issue with this guy. Commercially it's a bit strange, but it's not about that. It's a trophy asset to say, 'This is the biggest event in the world.'" Hearn, CEO of Matchroom Boxing, and co-promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, have other options if the offer falls through, including the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. "The mindset of this individual is that he wants to bring this fight to his own country," Hearn said. "It's not about selling tickets; it's not about government investment. It's him saying, 'I'd be paying for it. 'There's a number for the fight; you hit the number, you get the fight. That number was not an issue for this individual. "I can't say who it is, but it's a very wealthy individual and he wants to do something very special. We've had 20 approaches for this fight, but you know which ones are serious." Hearn is also adamant the fight must happen in June or July amid reports that the prospective date could be pushed back to winter to accommodate an outdoor event in Saudi Arabia. "I see some comments saying sites might prefer the fight in November or December, but that is not what is on the table, that's not what we are pitching," he said. "If the question comes back 'Can we do it later in the year?', the answer is no. That's the date. Otherwise the WBO belt becomes an issue again, something else happens. Fury might turn around and say he needs another fight. "The absolute focus is June or July. If there's a site that wants another date, they're out. Joshua could not care less where it is, he just wants the fight. He said he'd do it in my back garden." When asked by Britain's talk-SPORT if he's confident the fight will happen this summer, Hearn replied: "Yeah, that's 100 percent the focus. We know it's a difficult world at the moment, we know there's travel restrictions, we know global economies are crumbling, but ultimately that's the date of the fight. "We want Fury against AJ, two fights this year. This is what we've signed up to, this is what we're telling all the relevant sites and approaches-what we have is a two-fight agreement, one in June/July, one in November/December."