- Tyson Fury fights Deontay Wilder at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, February 22.
- Should he win, and overcome Wilder in an anticipated trilogy bout later in the year, then there would be pressure to fight the WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in a battle of Britain mega-bout.
- Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, previously told iFL TV that the money to host such a fight in Saudi Arabia is difficult to turn down. Business Insider previously reported Joshua made $85 million when he beat Andy Ruiz Jr. in his anticipated rematch in Diriyah, last December.
- But Fury’s promoter, Bob Arum, told Business Insider this week that regular fights in Saudi Arabia “kills the sport” and that promoters owe it to fans in established boxing markets like the USA or UK to put the fight there, instead.
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LAS VEGAS — A battle of Britain mega-fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua should take place in the UK or USA rather than Saudi Arabia, Fury’s promoter Bob Arum told Business Insider this week.
Putting regular fights in Saudi Arabia “kills the sport,” Arum said.
Fury, meanwhile, puts his unbeaten record on the line when he challenges for Deontay Wilder’s WBC championship belt on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
But that is not all.
Should Fury come out on top in his three-fight rivalry with Wilder, having drawn with the heavy-hitting American in 2018, then there would be pressure to meet his British rival Joshua so all four of the heavyweight championships would be on the line in a winner-take-all super showdown.
It is a bout Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn recently said could take place in Saudi Arabia, according to iFL TV. Hearn said he was planning to put “three or four” shows in Saudi Arabia in 2020, and a Joshua vs. Fury fight could command $200 million paydays for the fighters.
But speaking to Business Insider, Arum said the fight should not happen in Saudi Arabia because it would do a disservice to boxing fans in established markets. Putting the political situation to one side — a political situation which Business Insider previously reported as “sportswashing” — the bout should take place in a UK or USA city, Arum said.
“If we care about this sport and want to see it grow then the fight should take place either in the United States or in the UK,” Arum said. “We owe it to our fans to do that.”
Hearn held the rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Joshua in Diriyah, December 2019. The bout was the second fight of the year between the two athletes, after Joshua was humiliatingly beaten by Ruiz Jr. in New York City earlier in the summer — one of the greatest upsets heavyweight boxing had ever seen. But his victory in Diriyah saw him collect a career-high check of $85 million, according to a previous Business Insider report.
“I don’t mind and I don’t fault Eddie for going to Saudi Arabia with the Joshua v Ruiz fight,” Arum said. “[He] made a good buck, that was okay, but you can’t keep doing it or you’re going to kill the sport.
“And it’s not political,” Arum added. “We’re putting politics aside. We’re just talking as a promoter who wants to appeal to the most boxing fans.”