One Of The Fury vs Joshua Fights Must Be Held In The UK
By Joe Alexander
British boxing fans wait impatiently for the announcement of arguably the only fight that matters – Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua.
Growing gradually closer to becoming a reality, Eddie Hearn has stated it is 90% likely to take place in 2021. We should, of course, take this with a pinch of salt, as boxing is boxing and we’ve heard this all before.
There can be no underestimating the immense magnitude of one single fight deal. A gargantuan event in global boxing, but especially in the United Kingdom, this is a fight that has been building for years.
An array of elements leading to the current position. Two boxers with different styles and different career paths, all leading to the making of this fight. For both, the grand prize, the winning lottery ticket and the culminating pinnacle of both careers. If made, it would instantly become the biggest fight of 2021.
Not only that, but it would also be the biggest heavyweight contest in decades. Yet the highest accolade given is that it would go down as the biggest fight ever between two British fighters.
This fight will undoubtedly be followed by a contracted rematch but, despite holding such significance to British boxing, it more than likely won’t be held in the UK. Countries such as America, Saudi Arabia and Singapore have been suggested as host nations, and the constantly changing COVID19 situation in the UK has strengthened the case to not host it in the UK.
With no boxing in January and only the Joshua vs Pulev fight holding limited fans, no solid plans can be made on Fury vs Joshua in the UK. As mentioned, the enormous nature of this fight warrants an attendance of fans, and boxing is a business. The loss of income from fans attending would put a massive dent in potential earnings from this fight.
Coming off the back of a financially damaging 2020 for boxing, along with the combination of such a fight, it is cash cow milking time for both promotional teams.
This opportunity doesn’t come very often, if ever, for promotional companies. Every single pound will be squeezed out of this, seemingly making Saudi Arabia the favourite to host the fight.
Having already hosted the Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz rematch whilst paying out staggering amounts of money to do so, it seems only likely this will end up there for the first fight.
The fight time for UK viewers when in Saudi is perfect – no different to a domestic Saturday fight night. This at least doesn’t hinder UK fans from watching, which is small but is at least something.
With the biggest British fight ever, it would be ridiculous for it to be in America and therefore shown in the UK at 4 am. That would be very hard to take, especially with it not being in the UK at all.
The fight not being in the UK stung a lot more before the restrictive nature of Covid19. It still does, being an all British affair. However, it is a little more understandable from that side of things. Not only that, but it is also the earning power pinnacle. After this and additional losses on the record, the earning power of one of these fighters would have diminished considerably.
Again, boxing is a business. It shouldn’t therefore come as a surprise that the financial element will be a significant influence on this fight. With this being said, the first fight being abroad can be understood.
The initial deal will likely be a two-fight deal and a massive British clash regardless. But to secure the full impact in the UK and create a standout event in British sporting history, the second fight must be held in the UK.
A rematch in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium would be a mesmerising spectacle – almost mind-boggling – with Froch Groves 2 paling in comparison respectfully.
This event could rival most historical British sporting events, maybe not quite the 1966 World Cup, but rival nonetheless. This fight can do incredible things for boxing in the UK. Although growing into more of a mainstream sport in the UK with Joshua being crucial for such growth, this fight could take boxing to another level. It is that big of a fight that it could truly have a long-lasting effect.
This may seem hyperbolic and over the top, but this fight and its impact should not be undervalued or underestimated. This little island off mainland Europe has always punched well above its weight in boxing. The focus would be firmly on the UK, and it seems only right for such a fight between Brits to be held in the UK.