IT’S ON!! Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua for the undisputed heavyweight title.
Well, apart from the fact there has been no date announced, no venue decided on, Kubrat Pulev and Deontay Wilder are just one punch away from turning it into smoke, Oleksandr Usyk and Dillian Whyte still hold legitimate mandatory arguments, rival networks in the UK and the US are in the dark regarding rights, and there’s not a signed contract in sight.
Still, IT’S ON!! Right?!
“It’s absolute bullshit,” Frank Warren told Boxing News moments after Eddie Hearn and Tyson Fury dropped the “announcement” last Wednesday. The Queensberry promotor was willing to concede that provisional agreements had been made in regards to the splits for both fighters, but claimed anything more than that was just a call for attention from Hearn.
“We all know it’s a 50/50 split in the first fight, with the rematch being 60/40 for the winner,” he confirmed.
It’s hard to disagree with Warren’s apathetic response. Putting the lack of signatures to one side, four hungry heavyweights may yet prove the biggest hurdles in getting this undisputed fight over the line.
Joshua-Pulev and Fury-Wilder 3 should both take place in the next six months, but even if these jumps are cleared, the WBC and WBO mandatories will be knocking at the door for a slice of the heavyweight pie.
As Dillian Whyte takes legal action against the WBC for their persistent rule-changing regarding his mandatory world title shot, WBO president “Paco” Valcárcel is claiming on Twitter that Joshua would have to face Usyk before Fury. With this, there is a real chance that the heavyweight title may, once again, become more fragmented.
Location, location, location.
Until we are well and truly out of the COVID-19 woods, it’s impossible to earmark specific venues to be in the running to host this event. In the UK, Fury vs Joshua will find itself in the conversation to be named one of the most significant sporting events the country has ever seen, but without free rein of 90,000 seats inside Wembley Stadium, is this contest financially viable on home soil?
Social distancing rules may well have been redesigned by the time AJ and the “Gypsy King” are ready to put pen to paper. Still, following unrivalled incompetence by the British government in response to the virus, the lure of a Middle East venue becomes more potent as each day passes.
A decision to take the opener to Saudi Arabia, or even Qatar, will no doubt be softened by a promise to bring the rematch to the UK. Still, promises in boxing aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
And if THAT wasn’t enough, we need to talk about Daniel Kinahan.
Fury alluded to Kinahan’s involvement in these discussions across his social media, with the MTK Global management group founder once again proving instrumental in a fight of such importance. “Mob boss” Kinahan has been responsible for brokering some huge deals in the sport, with Bob Arum and Frank Warren often singing his praises and refuting his critics.
UAE-based Kinahan is a hugely controversial figure across Ireland and has recently made moves to step away into the murky shadows of the boxing business. He still acts as an advisor to many fighters, but, on paper, ended all ties with MTK in 2017.
The Irish government are writing to UK counterparts about the “unacceptable” involvement of Kinahan in Fury-Joshua negotiations. He was identified in proceedings in the High Court in Dublin as a senior figure in an organised crime gang involved in international drug trafficking operations and firearm offences.
The Criminal Assets Bureau in Ireland has said that Kinahan “has associations that facilitate international criminal activity in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America.”
Kinahan describes himself as “just an Irish businessman” and is yet to be convicted of any crime.
Boxing’s history is underpinned by involvement from undesirable and questionable figures. Kinahan may prove to be the latest name to act merely as a debated footnote on another iconic event.
But hey, IT’S ON!!!