With the UK back under lockdown and boxing suspended for at least the next month, one of the biggest fights in British boxing history may not actually take place on British soil. Eddie Hearn tells the Daily Mail (as always, apologies for linking to them) that they’re looking for other staging grounds.
“Even before this current situation there was no guarantee that we would do the first fight in the UK because it was almost impossible that we would get clearance to have, say, 90,000 at Wembley in late May. Now it is far, far more likely that it will be abroad. There have been a lot of conversations between both sides in the past couple of weeks and we’re optimistic that we can tie up stuff in the next fortnight.’
Per the Mail, “[t]he Middle East remains the most likely destination, with approaches received from Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar, and there is further interest in the US and China.” Singapore has also submitted a bid for the fight; the country has done quite well for itself in battling COVID, sitting at just three deaths since July.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KO) is obviously no stranger to the Middle East, having reclaimed his titles from Andy Ruiz in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO), on the other hand, has fought exclusively in Europe and North America during his 12 years as a professional.
Though it obviously stinks to see such a momentous fight lose its ideal location like this, it’s good to see Hearn and others making compromises instead of holding out for a “perfect” scenario.