Anthony Joshua v Tyson Fury: Fight to take place in Saudi Arabia, says Eddie Hearn

BBC Sport looks back at the verbal barbs and insults traded by Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury's world heavyweight title fight will take place in Saudi Arabia, says Eddie Hearn.

A specific venue and date is yet to be confirmed for the all-British bout, which will see the winner become the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, suggested it could take place on either 7 August or 14 August.

"It's a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia," Hearn told Sky Sports.external-link

He added they were working with the "same people" as they did for Joshua's rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua, 31, won back the WBA, WBO and IBF belts by beating Ruiz in Diriyah, on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh, in December 2019.

He had lost the titles in a shock defeat in June that year.

"We're very comfortable. Anthony's comfortable, he knows those people," added Hearn.

"They delivered on every one of their promises last time. We're ready to go."

This year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympics are set to finish on 8 August, so Hearn said 14 August made more sense but that he hoped to secure the date and venue in the next few days.

Hearn announced that a two-fight deal between Joshua and Fury, 32, had been agreed in March after months of negotiations.

Fury's co-promoter Bob Arum subsequently said the fight was "dead in the water", which Hearn denied.

The fight will see all four belts contested in a heavyweight bout for the first time.

The last undisputed heavyweight champion was Britain's Lennox Lewis from 1999 to 2000. That was before a boxer also had to hold the WBO belt to be recognised as undisputed champion.

'Saudi does it again' - analysis

BBC Sport boxing reporter Luke Reddy

The fact the biggest fight in boxing is heading to Saudi Arabia and not Wembley or Las Vegas may come as a surprise to those who dip in and out of the sport infrequently.

But those who follow the fight game have known for a while that the eye-watering financial offer from Saudi authorities was always likely to sway this fight their way.

Some reports of $150m (£106m) being put forward point to the financial clout the Gulf state offers. That fee is before pay-per-view revenue is taken into consideration so Joshua and Fury are likely to walk away with a minimum of about £100m apiece.

Money, ultimately, is what matters here. For months, organisers have been able to state other host nations were problematic because the Covid-19 pandemic meant ticket-buying fans could not access stadiums.

Last weekend's 73,000 gate in Arlington, Texas, shows crowds and ticket sales are again a possibility but the financial guarantees Saudi Arabia offers are hard to eclipse at times where uncertainty remains.

Saudi Arabia has, of course, faced scrutiny from those who say it is using high-profile sporting events to mask its human rights record - and there will be more focus on the issue once this fight is confirmed.

So Wembley Way will not be teeming with passionate fans, and the Las Vegas strip will not be alive with fight-night chants. And Saudi Arabia may prove hard to access for UK fight fans given the ever-changing travel restrictions the pandemic has created.

It is far from an ideal backdrop, but it is one which has provided a pathway to this fight - one that is likely to captivate even those who rarely tune in to boxing.

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