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Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury clash on the verge of being signed

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Image Credits: Boxing247, GQ.

Contracts for a tantalising four-belt heavyweight unification fight between WBA, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua 24-1 (22) and WBC counterpart Tyson Fury 30-0-1 (21) are expected to be signed within two weeks.

Fury’s US-based co-promoter Bob Arum says he is “95 per cent confident” of getting the deal over the line.

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A venue for the all-British heavyweight clash is still up in the air.

“I don’t want to make a deadline, but I just can report that everything so far has been going splendidly, and we hope to have a signed document within the next couple of weeks,” Arum told Sky Sports News.

“That might not provide for a site, because again, we can have a document that the fighters would have signed, and everything, and then have a mutual agreement clause of the site.

“We’re all on the same page, as far as I can see.

“I’m 95 per cent confident the fight happens, and I’m 100 per cent confident that my guy wins, and wins by knockout.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been in negotiations with Arum about a number of countries that are keen to host the bout, but with crowd restrictions in play in the UK due to the global coronavirus pandemic, it seems unlikely the fight will land there.

“I don’t want to say too much, other than we’re going well,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

“We’re now papering the fight, in terms of the contracts, a period of the fight, and looking out now in the next stages to go to the different various sites that have made offers and discuss the fight and the date with them.

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“All I want to tell you really is we’re on track and I don’t see anything derailing it.

“We’re talking to Saudi Arabia, we’re talking to Qatar, we’re talking to Dubai, we’re talking to Singapore, we’re talking to China, we’re talking to America.

“We all know everybody would like this fight in the UK. Can we hand on heart say that in May, we can have 100,000 people in Wembley? I think very unlikely.”

The card will likely feature boxers from Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable up against fighters from Arum’s Top Rank.

“We talked about the undercard and Eddie made a really good suggestion – that we have Matchroom fighters against fighters from our side,” said Arum.

“That would be pretty good. It would be interesting.”

While the fight looks likely to go ahead, it may well be without the WBO belt on the line as number one contender Oleksandr Usyk 18-0 (13) is pushing for his mandatory title shot.

“There were talks about an interim title or the AJ vs Fury winner relinquishing the WBO title the next day [after they fight],” Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

“But as for today Usyk is the WBO mandatory and never gave his consent for the [Joshua vs Fury] bout to happen without him.”

Arum is confident a solution can be found.

“He is the mandatory for the WBO, so we will ask the WBO to allow this fight to happen with Fury and Joshua, and that would hold off Usyk,” Arum said.

“If we were not able to accomplish that, well maybe before we try to accomplish that, we would reach some kind of solution with Usyk where he fights somebody else, maybe on the same card. We’ll find a solution.

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“I’m optimistic we will find a solution. Now if we don’t, the unfortunate thing would be, that we do it without the WBO title. Be that as it may, but I think it would be nice for boxing to do this for the undisputed title.” (RN24)

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